Petek, M.,Çavuşoğlu, E. 2021. Welfare assessment of two free-range laying hen flocks in Turkey. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 24(1), 56-63.
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of keel bone deviations and feather damage of laying hens in two different free-range housing systems under commercial conditions. Both of the free-range systems had an indoor barn and an outdoor range area. The floor of the indoor barn consisted of litter and either perches (litter and perch, LP) or slats (litter and slats, LS). The hens of both flocks were raised under identical conditions in the same house during the rearing period and then divided and transferred to two different free-range housing systems for the laying period. Examinations were conducted on the flocks at the end of the production cycle. Hens from the LP group had a greater prevalence of keel bone deviation and feather damage compared to hens from the LS group. The highest percentage of severe feather damage was found in the back and tail body regions in both flocks. The findings of this study are based upon the evaluation of two Turkish laying flocks. Therefore further research with more replicates of these treatments is needed to reach a general conclusion.