In the spotlight

Alleviating stress in chickens

Laying hens can be quite aggressive towards each other, resulting in feather pecking. This is why their beaks are trimmed. But from 2018 onwards, this painful procedure will be prohibited in the Netherlands.

Together with the egg industry, researchers at Wageningen UR investigated the factors that lead to feather pecking  behaviour. It turns out that fear and stress are crucial factors for both rearing hens, chicks and adult laying hens.

If chicks learn to forage with an adequate amount of bedding material and hens receive enough attention, they will not learn to feather peck. With this knowledge, Wageningen UR contributes to improving the quality of life.