Laying Hens (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB7274)

Inspection


Schedule 1, paragraph 2 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (England) 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1870) requires that:

- All animals kept in husbandry systems in which their welfare depends on frequent human attention shall be thoroughly inspected at least once a day to check that they are in a state of well-being.

- Animals kept in systems other than husbandry systems in which their welfare depends on frequent human attention shall be inspected at intervals sufficient to avoid any suffering.

 

Schedule 1, paragraph 3 states that:

Where animals are kept in a building adequate lighting (whether fixed or portable) shall be available to enable them to be thoroughly inspected at any time.

 

Schedule 3D, paragraph 1 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 No.1646) states that:

All hens must be inspected by the owner or person responsible for the hens at least once a day.

 

Schedule 3D, paragraph 6 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002 No.1646) states that:

Accommodation comprising two or more tiers of cages must have devices or appropriate measures must be taken to allow inspection of all tiers without difficulty and facilitate the removal of hens.

 

12

A thorough inspection should take place at least once a day. Such inspections should be made independently of any automatic surveillance equipment. This inspection should be sufficiently thorough to detect illness and injury of individual hens, and special attention should be paid to bodily condition, movements, respiratory distress, condition of plumage, eyes, skin, beak, legs, feet and claws, and where appropriate, combs and wattles. Attention should also be paid to the presence of external parasites, to the condition of droppings, to feed and water consumption, to growth and to egg production level. Where appropriate the birds should be encouraged to walk. Individual examination should be made of those birds for which the overall inspection indicates this to be necessary. A second daily inspection is recommended at a different time of day.

13

The healthy individual bird should have sounds and activity appropriate to its age, breed or type, clear bright eyes, good posture, vigorous movements if unduly disturbed, clean healthy skin, good feather condition, well formed shanks and feet, effective walking and active feeding and drinking behaviour.

14

The early signs of ill health may include changes in food and water intake, in preening, in chatter and in activity. There may also be a drop in egg production and changes in egg quality such as shell defects.

15

Housing and Equipment must be designed so that all the birds can be clearly seen. Supplementary lighting may be needed for the inspection of birds in the bottom tier of cage systems.

 

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