Breeding against feather pecking

Impact story

Breeding against feather pecking

Laying hens living in groups perform feather pecking behaviour. Because of the ban on beak trimming, feather pecking results in reduced survival. WUR Animal Breeding & Genomics has developed models to select against mortality due to feather pecking.

Identify peckers and victims

Wageningen University & Research, Animal Breeding & Genomics developed a statistical model to identify peckers and victims. By using selection based on relatives, we were able to select friendly families.

Implementation of the models

Poultry breeding companies have implemented these models to improve the survival and welfare of laying hens. The breeding companies indicate that the loss of birds has subsequently been reduced.