Improving hen welfare on cage-free egg farms in Asia: Egg producers' perspectives

Kate Hartcher*, Jayasimha Nuggehalli, Qing Yang, Maria Catalina T de Luna, Ali Agus, Shuichi Ito, Zulkifli Idrus, Iman H S Rahayu, Jutamart Jattuchai, Kris Descovich, Elissa Lane, Michelle Sinclair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is a trend towards the adoption of cage-free housing systems in the egg industry across Asia. While cage-free housing systems can hold significant animal welfare advantages over cages, there can also be challenges in managing these systems. This exploratory study aimed to investigate the perspectives of egg producers on the main challenges and proposed solutions associated with cage-free systems in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Cage-free producers found disease prevention and maintaining a healthy profit margin more difficult than producers from cage farms, while it was less difficult to provide environmental enrichment in cage-free systems compared to cage farms. The top challenges for cage-free producers were the cost of production, system management, disease, sales, and egg production, and the top proposed solution was to improve on-farm practices and efficiencies. Eighty-one percent of egg producers believed that more support is needed to maintain their farms than is currently available, and support was most needed in helping to improve sales, improve farm operations, lower farm costs, and provide information for producers in the form of education and training. Most responses identified the government as the stakeholder that should offer support. These results may help direct further studies in this field as well as supplying information to develop relevant initiatives with an emphasis on education and training, thereby improving animal welfare on cage-free farms and increasing the uptake of high welfare cage-free farms across the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere64
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Welfare Journal
Volume32
Early online date22 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • animal welfare
  • cage-free
  • egg producers
  • egg production
  • layer hens
  • poultry

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