The future of beak tipping, egg trading and managing feather pecking drew some 70 producers and Industry to a meeting on 30th October.
Mark Williams, CEO of BEIC, outlined the political scenario in both the UK and Europe which is driving the management of all farm animals without mutilations and thus a ban on beak tipping. In his opinion, industry, rather than UK legislation would lead this move as has happened in Denmark. In terms of Brexit and future trade deals, clearly all efforts are being made to ensure any imports meet the UK’s high welfare standards and trade is on level terms.
Paula Baker, the Project Officer for the Laying Hen Welfare Forum (lhwf) then outlined the progress of more than 25 producers who have joined an EIP-Agri funded project to co-create their own Feather Cover Action Plans (FCAP). The project aims to identify key management strategies and the best ways of delivering and implementing FCAPs. A mini workshop identified some of the favoured methods of maintaining feather cover within the Severn Valley Poultry Discussion Group members. Short videos on Measuring feather cover and Managing litter were then shown prior to being added to this website. The lhwf will be sharing the results of the project at further meetings, in the media in general, and on this website.
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.
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.