SLU news

Researchers trained to assess organic laying hens

Published: 05 June 2012

On May 23-25th 17 scientists from eight European countries came to the SLU campus in Skara for a meeting within the CORE Organic project Healthy Hens.

The Healthy Hens project will conduct data collection on organic laying hens in the 8 participating countries (Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Sweden).

Data collection includes data on housing, management, production and animal health, and the database created will be used to analyze risk factors for various disease problems in organic laying hens. The project is the first in which animal health data from organic farms in Europe are collected in a uniform manner.

It is important that the protocol developed in the project is used in the same way everywhere and that the assessors in the different countries assess as uniform as possible. To calibrate their assessments, the project group visited an organic herd in the Skara region for two days. Results from a clinical assessment of the hens were analyzed on site and for the parts where there were big differences in the assessments a targeted exercise to achieve as much convergence as possible was performed.

The farm visits took place in glorious May sunshine, and our Italian participants noted that it was warmer than in Italy these days.

Stefan Gunnarsson, Department for Animal Environment and Health and also at EPOK, is the project manager for the Swedish part of the project.