Hot topics at Norfolk Suffolk Poultry Association

Brexit and Salmonella were key concerns for some 40-50 attendees who gathered in Norwich on 18th November 2019.

Mark Williams, BEIC, outlined the uncertain political situation, whilst making it clear that whatever shade of UK government emerges a ban on beak tipping will be on the agenda. In his view, industry rather than legislation will most likely move to a ban following consumer demand.

The Laying Hen Welfare Forum recently visited Austria where a ban is via the predominant assurance scheme. Other countries in the EU such as Denmark, which supplies the German market, have also gone down the ‘voluntary’ route.

The lhwf progress in supporting producers to manage hens to maintain good feather cover was outlined by Project Officer Paula Baker. The audience was keen to learn more about types of enrichment and the challenges of maintaining friable litter in wet weather. The lhwf video on litter management gave some tips here. Producers were also shown the lhwf video on feather scoring as regular, systematic evaluation of feather cover is key to proactive control of feather pecking.

Speakers from Elanco Animal Health discussed two on-farm issues: ‘ Holistic Control of Salmonella’ (James Horner) and ‘Strategic Deworming in Laying Hens’ (Jeremy Marsh) whilst Jerry Bailey-Watts (Zoetis gave a presentation on ‘Drinking Water Administration’. The importance of good biosecurity on farm was emphasised together with tips on achieving this in practice.

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Further drop in antibiotic use and resistance

The latest government VARSS report for antibiotic use during 2018 for farm animals shows a continuing downward trend – half the use of 2014. The pig and poultry sectors are at the forefront of the UK’s success in reducing antibiotic use in farm producing species. The poultry sector has led the way, decreasing use by 80% since 2012. BEIC collects data regarding antibiotic use in layers.

Posted on: 08 December 2019

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Yorkshire Egg Producers discuss feather cover

General challenges in egg production and ways of maintaining feather cover were discussed at the January meeting at a workshop run by the Laying Hen Welfare Forum. Key concerns were disease challenges, litter quality and ventilation. Providing enrichments, including pecking blocks, was found to be useful by many producers to maintain feather cover.

Posted on: 14 February 2020


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The work of the Laying Hen Welfare Forum is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development