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Describe the minimum standards and good practices in space allowance and other management practices of commercial layer poultry.

 All new farms or replacement of old cages must meet the minimum specifications.

Minimum Standards for Space Allowance of Layers

1) Floor space per bird shall not be less than 550 cm2 .

2) Each cage should accommodate preferably a minimum of 6–8 birds, thus ensuring reasonable space for laying hens so they can:

· Lie down

· Stand up

· Flap their wings

· Turn around

· Access feed and water

Good Management Practices in Maintenance of Records

1) The farm owner or the operator shall ensure that the maximum housing density is not exceeded and maintain records of the total floor area available to the hens; the space allowances and maximum number of birds kept within the house.

2) The farm owner or the operator shall maintain the record of available number of birds, the daily mortality and number culled.

3) These records shall be made available for inspection by the prescribed authority.

Good Management Practices in Housing

i) Furnished or enriched houses are the housing systems that provide additional features often including perches, a nest box/area, litter or scratch area and more space per hen to meet the welfare needs.

· Furnished cages are available to house large (60 hens), medium (15 to 30 hens), and small (up to 15 hens) group sizes.

· The European Commission (1999) offered standards for furnished cages that include perching space for all hens and a nest and dust bath area, with minimum available space per hen of 750 cm2 per bird.

· In these systems, claw-shortening devices are helpful to maintain short claws, and perches can help to increase leg strength.

ii) Provisions shall be made to keep indoor chickens active. Environmental enrichment can improve bird health and welfare by reducing disturbances, aggression, injurious pecking, fear responses and stress and improving leg health by increasing the level of physical exercise.

iii) There shall be sufficient space for all hens to perch and must have a nest box, litter to allow pecking and scratching and access to feed freely.

The following good practices in housing are also applicable to commercial layer poultry housing facility:

· space to meet the behaviour needs

· topography (location, orientation and drainage)

· flood and fire risk

· climate, feed and water requirements

· shelter

· surface materials

· cleaning and waste disposal

· width

· length

· roof

· floor

· side walk

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