General objective

Welfare of laying hens is still a matter of concern. The EU-Directive 1999/74/EC sets the outlines for the various systems that are allowed for housing laying hens. At the time this Directive was adopted, most information on enriched cages, more rightly called furnished cages, came from studies in labs or small scale units. Also, since then, a lot of new information is available on alternative housing systems, such as aviaries and free range systems. The LayWel project will put special emphasis on furnished cages and will provide extensive and adequate information about the various welfare aspects in this system using new data from research conducted in the LayWel project.

The general objective of the LayWel project was to produce a series of reports on the welfare of laying hens in various systems and to make the information well known, particularly over all member states of the EU and associated countries. Although special emphasis was put on furnisheded cages and the welfare of laying hens housed in it, alternative housing systems, such as aviaries and free range systems were also investigated. The final report of the layWel project gives a method to estimate the welfare of laying hens in any kind of housing system.

As the LayWel project focuses on the welfare of laying hens, all workpackages (WP) should be seen in this perspective and therefore only deal with aspects influencing bird welfare. The first WP was meant to start with consensus on definitions of welfare and welfare criteria. The second WP defines the various housing systems into detail. These first two WPs are the basis from which WP 3 - 6 are dealing with the various aspects of welfare of laying hens.
The objective of WP7 is to integrate the information obtained from all preceding WPs to make an overall assessment of the impact of furnisheded cages and alternative housing systems on the welfare of the laying hen.

Annex 1 "description of work"FP6-502315-STReP-Annex1 final.pdf