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Laying hen management

Laying hen farming refers to the keeping of chickens that are bred to lay eggs. Typically, these chickens are kept in large numbers in coops specifically designed to house large numbers of birds in a small space. This type of housing has both advantages and disadvantages.

One advantage is that laying hens in coops can be easily monitored and protected. They are protected from predators and weather conditions, and it is easier to monitor their health and feeding. There is also higher egg production because the hens are kept in controlled environments and egg production can be optimized through the use of lights and feeding.

One drawback is that keeping laying hens indoors is often considered unethical because the animals are kept in confined spaces with little room to move around or perform natural behaviors. There are also concerns about the health of the animals, especially related to the use of antibiotics to prevent disease.

However, there are alternative methods of keeping laying hens, such as free-range or barn systems, where the animals have more space and the opportunity to perform natural behaviors. However, these methods have their own challenges and there is no clear "right" method of keeping laying hens.


Laying performance

Laying performance refers to the number of eggs a laying hen lays per period. Laying performance varies depending on the breed and age of the hen and can be influenced by factors such as feeding, light conditions and health.

Generally, laying hens begin laying eggs at about 18 weeks of age and reach their peak laying performance between the 20th and 30th laying cycles. Thereafter, laying performance gradually declines and hens are usually retired at about 72 weeks of age.

Laying performance varies by breed, but on average, modern breeds of laying hens, such as the Hy-Line Brown, lay about 300 eggs per year. However, there are breeds that have a higher laying performance, such as the Lohmann Brown, which average about 340 eggs per year.

Laying performance can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the type of feed, light conditions and the health of the birds. A balanced diet that contains adequate protein, calcium and other nutrients is important to improve laying performance. Lighting can also influence by targeting light in the facility to encourage hens to lay.

It is also important to regularly inspect the birds for health and well-being and provide treatments as necessary to prevent potential health problems.

It should be noted, however, that high laying performance is often associated with higher stress levels for the birds and can also have negative effects on their health in the long run. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between laying performance and animal welfare.



Mortality refers to the percentage of animals that die in a particular housing system. In the case of laying hens, mortality refers to the number of hens that die during their laying period.

Mortality in laying hens varies by housing type, age of the birds, and breed. In general, mortality is higher in conventional laying hen houses than in alternative housing systems such as free-range or barn systems. This is due to the fact that in conventional houses the animals are kept in a confined space, which means that problems such as injuries and diseases can occur more frequently.

In Germany, mortality in laying hen houses averages around 5%, meaning that one in 20 hens die before they are discarded. However, there are farms where mortality is higher or lower.

There are many factors that can affect mortality, including age, breed, housing conditions, feeding, and health. For example, some breeds have higher mortality than others. Housing conditions also play a role, as close confinement, inadequate ventilation or unsanitary conditions can increase the risk of injury and disease.

To reduce mortality, it is important to improve housing conditions and to regularly inspect animals for health and well-being. It is also important that hens receive a balanced diet and that housing conditions are hygienic. There are also alternative methods of keeping laying hens, such as free-range or floor housing, which tend to have lower mortality because the birds have more space and can perform their natural behaviors.

It is important to note that mortality is not only an indicator of animal welfare, but also has an impact on farm productivity and costs.


Documentation obligation

The documentation requirement refers to the obligation of farmers and operators of laying hen houses to keep records of the housing conditions and the health of the animals and to submit these records upon request. The purpose of this documentation requirement is to monitor compliance with laws and regulations related to the keeping of laying hens and to ensure that the animals are treated appropriately.

In the EU, there are specific regulations for the documentation of laying hen husbandry. For example, farmers and operators of laying hen houses must keep records of the number of animals kept, feeding, use of medicines and the results of health checks.

In Germany, farmers are required to keep the Animal Welfare and Husbandry Register (TiN), in which all important data on the husbandry, feeding and health of the animals must be documented. This register must be able to be presented to the veterinary authority at any time upon request.

The documentation requirement also serves to strengthen the responsibility of farmers and operators of laying hen houses by obliging them to closely monitor housing conditions and animal welfare and to make improvements where necessary. It also helps monitor the use of medicines and chemicals and can help reduce environmental impact.