We have agreed to host and lead a set of Soil Association and Dutchy College FIELD LAB. The Lab is an on farm investigation / study into, in our case, Moulting of Laying Hens.
Until recently the Soil Association would not permit the ‘forced’ moulting of laying hens as it was deemed to be ‘un natural’ and detrimental to the welfare of the hens. We have persuaded the Soil Association to allow us to trial moulting commercial laying hens in a compassionate way and over the last two years now moulted six flocks. We have gained alot of knowledge and information and the intention to share and explore this as well as follow a flock through the process in the Field Lab. We will aim to set out and discuss the many factors involved in the process including the below short list in order to attempt to conclude whether moulting commercial laying hens can be a successful option within an organic system.
• Welfare of the hens
• Additional life span of the hens
• Saving in cost of replacement hens
• Drop in production
• Egg size and quality
• Pressure on range and house
• Mortality and condition
The Lab will be advertised by the Soil Association and the first meeting will be the 28th August 2013.