WATT PoultryUSA - January 2018 - 52
52 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
hours per house to accomplish.
The AssureWel scheme only uses
seven measurements for laying
hens - feather loss, bird dirtiness,
beak trimming, antagonistic behaviors, flightiness, birds needing
further care, and mortality. She
said this evaluation can be completed in around 15 minutes per
house and doesn't require the assessor to handle any of the birds.
The AssureWel scheme for
broiler welfare is a little more complicated than for layers and consists
of four parts: the whole flock assessment, defined walk, individual
measures and on-farm record.
AssureWel is a collabora-
tive project of the RSPCA, the
University of Bristol and the Soil
Future poultry welfare
Mench said any outcome-based
measures selected for use in a welfare
scheme need to have an importance
to welfare, can be easily and accurately measured, and be things that
producers can actually do something
about through changes in management. She said some resource-based
measurements might still be included
in future welfare standards.
Mench suggested that, for layers, perch space per hen based on
the size of the hens might be one
resource-based welfare standard
that is included along with outcomebased standards in the future.
She expects that some behavioral
measures will also be included.
Mench said the retailers she has
had contact with are interested in
The opportunity for continuous improvement is one of the key
benefits of outcome-based welfare
measures. Mench said producers
will need to set either regional or national benchmarks compete against.
She also said outcome-based welfare
measures will fail if critical limits
are not established. ■
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