Exploitable knowledge and its Use

Overview table

Exploitable knowledge (description)

Exploitable product)s) or measure(s)

Sector(s) of application

Timetable for commercial use

Patents or other IPR protection

Owner & Other Partner(s) involved

1. Interna­tion­ally equal scoring of exteriour of laying hensPhotographic scoring system1. Commercial poultry farms
2. Research
No protectionPartic. 6 (owner)
Partic. 4 & 9 helped in development
2. Auditing welfare of laying hens at farm level in any housing systemManual for self assessment of welfare of laying hens on farm (English version)1. Commercial poultry farms
2. Extension services
2006No protectionPartic. 7 (owner) Partic. 9 helped in development
3. Overview technical results various housing systems in various European countries on commercial and experimental farmsDatabase1. Research2010Held confidentially by the partnersPartic. 6 (leader)
Partic. 2 – 9 contributed to the database

1. Photographic scoring system
A scoring system to quantify feather quality, skin lesions and other health characteristics is important to be able to measure the effect of housing, management and/or treatment on health and welfare of hens. As almost every research institute has developed its own scoring system, the findings in the literature with regards to integument of hens are very hard to compare. This makes it very difficult to compare the various studies and it is almost impossible to draw general conclusions with regards to the effect of various housing systems, management, and/or treatments. The LayWel photographic scoring systems provides a standards, that is easy to use, language independent, applicable in any situation and supported by the major institutes working on welfare of laying hens. This makes this system unique and will give it the potential to be the first world-wide standard.
All LayWel partners already use the system. As they are the leading institutes in this field and as they communicate very frequently about the system, already other institutes have started to use it (e.g. Applied Research - Geel - Belgium). Partner 6 is the leading partner for this result and has also already put the system on the internet. Partner 4 and 9 helped developing the system.
The scoring system will be made more accessible on the LayWel -website, that will be available in short time. As more and more institutes will use the system, research results from various research institutes will be more comparable in the future.
The scoring systems if free of any intellectual property rights and can be used freely by anybody. No further development of the systems is needed.

2. Manual for self assessment of welfare of laying hens on farm (English version)
The manual provides a tool to farmers to monitor the welfare status of their birds in an objective way. It can also be used by extension people. The manual provides tools to measure various welfare aspects and it stimulates farmers to monitor welfare of their birds on a frequent basis. It also indicates ways to improve welfare. By using the manual farmers will be more aware of the welfare of their birds and the effect of their management on it. The tool is practical, but also gives more fundamental information. A similar tool has never been produced. The manual is free of any intellectual property rights and can be used by anybody.
Partner 7 has produced the tool with help of partner 9. The tool is ready to use on commercial farms as defined in the LayWel project as final result. However, two more steps would make it even better and more widely applicable:

Although the above mentioned ideas for further development of the manual have been discussed among partners, no further steps have yet been taken to realise this. Therefore the manual will be register as an exploitable result looking for further support. Apart from that the possibilities will be reviewed to see if the manual can be incorporated in the Welfare Quality project.

3. Database
The database comprises results of many studies on housing of laying hens in various European countries. The data was collected both on commercial farms and in experimental units. The database is unique for several reasons:

  1. the data origin from studies on all type of housing systems, with special emphasis on furnished cages;
  2. the data come from different countries all over Europe;
  3. the database contains data on many topics, ranging from production to behaviour.

A problem with a database like this is that the data origin from many different sources. Housing conditions, management, type of hen, type of feed all differ. This makes it extremely difficult to draw sound conclusions. Only people who know the background of the data, whoe know how studies were done and what has happened in the experiment can judge the data right. Therefore the database is only open to partners of the LayWel project, who on their turn will not use the database without consulting the other partners. Each partner remains owner of its own data. In this way misusage and wrong conclusions are prevented.
The value of the database already has shown in the LayWel project, when welfare of laying hens was evaluated. However, although even new and unpublished data were put in the database, still the feeling was that for some systems (especially large furnished cages) data were missing and more data may change the conclusions. As the demand for up-to-date figures remains vivid and new data are produced frequently a way is sought to keep the database updated. This is the reason why the database will be register as an exploitable result looking for further support.