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  Animal Welfare on the Farm - Laying hensslide

Council Directive 1999/74/EC, adopted in 1999, made a distinction between three types of rearing systems for laying hens. Of these, the non-enriched cage systems have been prohibited since 1st January 2012. The systems which remain in use are:

  • enriched cages where laying hens have at least 750 cm² of cage area per hen;
  • alternative systems where the stocking density does not exceed 9 laying hens per m² usable area, with at least one nest for every 7 hens and adequate perches.

Whichever system is used all hens must have a nest, perching space, litter to allow pecking and scratching and unrestricted access to a feed trough.

The directive also states that all egg production units must be registered with the competent authorities in Member States and have a distinguishing number which can be used to trace eggs back to their farm of origin.

For full details please refer to the directive.



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