Egg Industry - October 2017 - 12
12 ❙ EggIndustry
3 questions on the future of
perches in cage-free housing
Perches are a simple, yet integral, part of cage-free housing systems. How
will they evolve to offer the most welfare and management benefits?
BY AUSTIN ALONZO
Perches are a necessity in cage-free housing systems,
but changing them may be necessary, too.
As cage-free egg farming is expanded around the
world, some in the field are asking if the current round,
metal tube perch design is the best for bird performance and welfare. On the welfare side, perches fulfill
the hen's natural desire to perch and give less dominant
birds a way to escape more aggressive ones. From a
management standpoint, including perches reduces
aggressive behaviors and gives the farmer more usable
space inside the layer house.
At the Egg Industry Center's Egg Industry Issues
Forum, the attendees asked whether the perch is as
beneficial as it can be for the hen and the farmer,
and discussed innovations that could improve the devices. The conference took place April 19 and 20, in
Dr. Lars Schrader, the leader of Germany's
Institute of Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry,
shared the results of a national study comparing hens
raised in enriched colony housing with those raised in
aviary housing. The study was conducted in response
to growing concern in Germany about keeping hens in
cages. The country is banning keeping layers in cages
starting in 2025.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2017
Is the metal, round perch the best design?