Onderwerp scriptie

Synergies and trade-offs between laying hens and woody perennials in a silvopoultry system – Sanne Vlothuizen

Laying hen farmers face different bottlenecks with the development and the design of the outdoor run. Planting woody perennials is an option to develop the outdoor run. In this study, a literature review was done as a starting point to develop different hypotheses on the expected synergies and trade-offs between laying hens and woody perennials.

There is an increase in the number of outdoor laying hen systems in the Netherlands. Farmers face different bottlenecks with the development and the design of the outdoor run. Planting woody perennials is an option to develop the outdoor run. The project “Bomen voor Buitenkippen” (BvB) from the Louis Bolk Institute is a participatory project with and for farmers that will help them to plant woody perennials in their outdoor run. 

There is only limited knowledge available on the interactions between laying hens and woody perennials. To gain more knowledge on these interactions, on-farm experiments can be conducted during the project “BvB”. In this study, a literature review was done as a starting point to develop different hypotheses on the expected synergies and trade-offs between laying hens and woody perennials. To show how these hypotheses can be tested different experts were consulted to develop experimental designs. In total, 14 hypotheses were developed. In order to give recommendations to the project “BvB” on which hypotheses are most valuable to test, the interest of farmers was used to prioritize these hypotheses. Ten laying hen farmers with an outdoor run were interviewed on what aspects of their outdoor run were most important and/or could be of importance to their outdoor run. These results were incorporated in an SWOT-analysis that was used as a tool to provide insights into what economic, ecological and societal issues related to the outdoor run were considered to be of importance to the farmers. In the end, these issues were used to make a selection of the hypotheses. The recommended hypotheses related to economic, geographic, public health, design of the outdoor run, social acceptability and animal welfare issues.

This study showed that there are different hypotheses that can be interesting to test during the project “BvB”. During this project it needs to turn out if the results from the conducted experiments correspond with the expected synergies and trade-offs between laying hens and woody perennials in a silvopoultry system as proposed in this study.



Student: SSC Vlothuizen

Supervisors: dr ir E Bokkers (APS), ir M Bestman (Louis Bolk Institute)

36 Ects