Hen re­search

Shepparton News - Country News - - LIVESTOCK -

De­vel­op­ing new tech­nol­ogy to mea­sure stress in hens and iden­ti­fy­ing val­ues-based el­e­ments in an­i­mal wel­fare sci­ence are key items in Aus­tralian Eggs’ new re­search and de­vel­op­ment plan.

Hen wel­fare re­search, funded by Aus­tralian Eggs, has tra­di­tion­ally fo­cused on solv­ing prac­ti­cal is­sues faced by egg farm­ers, such as hen be­havioural is­sues and dis­eases.

How­ever, the pub­lic de­bate on an­i­mal wel­fare has evolved to in­clude con­cepts that go be­yond the phys­i­cal con­di­tion of hens.

The new re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­gram con­tains a num­ber of projects to im­prove un­der­stand­ing of hen well­be­ing but still main­tains the in­vest­ment in on­farm wel­fare so­lu­tions.

‘‘We want to en­sure the in­dus­try can take a lead­er­ship po­si­tion on wel­fare,’’ Aus­tralian Eggs manag­ing di­rec­tor Rowan McMon­nies said.

‘‘Re­search into on-farm wel­fare so­lu­tions will con­tinue with new projects exploring the causes of smoth­er­ing and the im­pact of light in­ten­sity on rang­ing to help farm­ers man­age their flocks.

‘‘What’s likely to be more in­ter­est­ing to the broader com­mu­nity is our dual-fo­cus wel­fare im­prove­ment pro­gram.

‘‘The first fo­cus is iden­ti­fy­ing val­ues­based el­e­ments aris­ing from hen wel­fare sci­ence for the pur­pose of fur­ther re­search.

‘‘The sec­ond is new re­search to bet­ter mea­sure chronic stress in hens.’’ ■ An over­view of the Aus­tralian Eggs 2018-19 an­i­mal wel­fare re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­gram is avail­able at: www.aus­tralianeggs.org.au

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