Laying hens in organic and free-range production systems are given access to a free range because it is considered to contribute to their welfare. Compared to an indoor environment, a free range provides more opportunities to perform natural behaviours such as foraging, eating plants, insects and worms, dust and sun bathing. Outside also more space and fresh air are available. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for free-range and organic eggs, compared to barn eggs. This resulted in an increase of organic and free-range laying hens in the EU, Australia and the USA. In the Netherlands the number of hens with access to a free range increased from 5.0 million in 2005 to 9.2 million in 2020. The overall objective of this thesis was to gain insight into the opportunities and risks of a free range for the welfare of laying hens, with the ultimate aim of optimizing hen welfare including health.
Pagina's / pages: 174
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Abstract / summary in English:
Keywords in English: laying hens, free-range, welfare, health