The RSPCA, Soil Association and University of Bristol have teamed up to produce a guide for poultry farmers to help them stop their laying hens from suffering feather loss, something the animal welfare charity calls a “key welfare issue”.

The RSPCA, along with the Soil Association and the University of Bristol, has released a guide for poultry farmers to help them stop their laying hens from suffering feather loss.

The RSPCA deem feather loss in laying hens as According to the animal welfare charity, feather loss is a “key welfare issue” in laying hens, which takes many management strategies to combat.

The four-page booklet, which has been agreed with the poultry industry, covers:

  • the causes of feather loss;
  • best practice for keeping free-range, barn and organic hens with good feather cover; and
  • managing a feather loss problem.

It is believed hens mainly lose feathers through other birds pecking at them, usually because of poor litter quality and limited foraging opportunities.

Alice Clark, RSPCA senior scientific officer for farm animals, said:  “We are so pleased to be part of such a positive, collaborative effort to help find solutions to this key welfare issue affecting laying hens.”

Meanwhile, the British Egg Industry Council has said it is “fully supportive” of the guide.

Visit the RSPCA website to view the booklet.

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