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Heath And Welfare of Poultry in Commercial Industry Production

The prime focus of the commercial poultry industry has always been on the making of meat and eggs. Due to the increase in the demands of the chicken and broiler meat all over the world, the modes of production have also been improved. But as they say, increase in the modes of production poses new challenges. The same also holds true for the poultry sector which now faces a number of problems. Although the poultry sector is now more automated and integrated than ever, still it faces a great deal of criticism from the side of the public, especially from the various animal welfare organizations. It is due to this criticism and concern that a great deal of research has been initiated in order to minimize the levels of skepticism and for enhancing the welfare of the animals, which seems to be at stake in most of the third world countries. Poultry welfare involves the following dimensions.

Major Health and Welfare Problems 

Chicken welfare deals with the use of caging and all other settings in which animals are brought up. Caging system does provide the producers with a wide range of options including egg collection, efficiency and much more, but one of the major drawbacks of this system is the lack of natural environment. In other words, captivity can come to cause various changes in the animal’s behavior. According to the new rules and regulations imposed by The United Egg Producers, all of the animals should be given the minimal space of about 48 square inches for each bird. In accordance to guidelines suggested the European and other relevant organizations for broiler welfare, one bird should be given at least a space of 12 square inches.

scare among bird

Alternative Production Methods

Not just in America, but also in Europe a large number of production methods and alternative are now being developed and researched. But here it is unclear that whether or not the use of these methods might come to affordable and conducive to be used on a large scale in the commercial egg production. Furthermore, the prices of the eggs and meat also vary depending on the particular production system used for carrying out the production. For example, in Britain, the prices of free range eggs are much higher in comparison to eggs obtained from the use of the caging techniques.

free range chicken

Mortality Issues, Induced Molting, Beak and Toe Trimming

One of the major issues involved in the caging and some other farming practices is the issue of cannibalism which can be linked to mortality. Now here it seems that the cages might be a much safer method for animal growth, as the animals are less prone to be attacked by other predators. The commercial egg production is also effectuated to a much greater extent with the increase in the chances of predation and a higher mortality rate. There are also a number of regulations that have been imposed on the use of beak trimming techniques. In the past, the procedure had been subject to a great deal of criticism, primarily due to the highly invasive trimming measures. Due to these and other similar issues, some alternative methods are now being considered.

cannibalism in poultry

The use of beak and toe trimming should only be carried out for the welfare of the animal and for reducing the chances of any disease or abnormality that might occur. The major problem in the use of the beak trimming is because of the element of pain that the animal might experience. Induced molting method is also one of those measures which have been increasingly used in the past few years with the intent of enhancing the production life of the hens. The techniques used include feed restriction, change in the dietary techniques and much more, all of which are to be performed before sexual maturity.

toe trimming in poultrybeak trimming in poultry


Other health Problems in Commercial Egg Production
 and Industrial Poultry Farming

Although a number of health issues in animals have been resolved through the use of various scientific methods, still there are various other problems which need to be addressed. Here are some of them

  • Increase Body weight and Broad Breast
  • Disorders in the pelvic limbs
  • Skeletal abnormalities
  • Differential and Varied growth of body Parts
  • Chances of epidemics
  • Sudden death syndrome
  • Crowding and poor slaughtering practices
  • Poor use of stunners

Surveys and researches carried out in Europe and US suggest that most of the animals are now being slaughtered through the use of stunners in which most of the times animals are not stunned properly.


It is substantiated now that for the growth of commercial chicken and broiler chicken industry, a great deal of effort is still needed from the side of the producers and scientists for the betterment of all.

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About Farhan sheikh

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. The particular interests that brought me in the world of blogging are gardening, wildlife, nature, farming and livestock.


  1. Most suitable for developing and under developed countries

  2. I enjoyed your article. Production systems for egg-laying chickens must be based on sound science. The United Egg Producers are now pressing for enhanced colony cages with much more space, but the scientists are being cautious about these recommendations.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research from the Egg Laying Hen Welfare released in the Summer of 2011 which states: “Hens can experience stress in all housing types, and no single housing system gets high scores on all welfare parameters. Like-wise, no single breed of laying hen is perfectly adapted to all types of housing systems. Additionally, management of each system has a profound impact on the welfare of the birds in that system, thus even a housing system that is considered to be superior relative to hen welfare, can have a
    negative impact on welfare if poorly managed.” – -Laying Hen Welfare Fact Sheet, USDA-ARS-MWA, Livestock Behavior Research Unit, Summer 2011

    Feedstuffs magazine recently published some of the conclusions from the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES). The scientists participating noted that the enhanced colony cage increases capital costs and the chickens sustained more leg and wing injuries. What egg farmer supports spending more money that leads to less animal welfare? Dr. Joy Mench, co-scientific director and director of the University of California Center for Animal Welfare, said each housing system indicated its own advantages and disadvantages in providing for the health and wellbeing of the hens housed. Hens in enriched colonies experienced increased leg and wing fractures. Dr. Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economics professor at the University of California and director of the University’s California Agricultural Issues Center, said “real cost differences” are being found. On a cost-per-dozen basis, overall costs are highest for aviaries, followed by colonies and then by conventional cages. Capital costs were “much higher” for aviaries and colonies.

    • I appreciate the facts u mentioned here,on the farmers or producers side they firstly considered about their profit which comes out by ruducing their input cost and on the part of welfare societies they preferred the wellbeing of the animals.so their should be balance between the two,keeeping in view the ins and outs.

  3. Meraj Ahmed Ansari

    Assalamalikum Farhan,
    Can u please tellme in india where i will get egg production plant, i want to setup in my factory i am new in this business and need your guideline in this regards.

    Basically i was doing carpet business but i want to start this egg business so please guide me in this.

  4. We recently tried raising some commercial meat birds at home. They were the kind bred for large breasts, and they grow quickly — the ones that break their legs easily and can’t stand up when fully grown. I was really uncomfortable with the entire thing. It didn’t go well for a variety of reasons. If we try raising meat birds again in the future, we’ll be raising dual-purpose or heritage breeds.

  5. I am a poultry farmer and wld like to improve on my local stock

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