Independent report

FAWC opinion on osteoporosis and bone fractures in laying hens

Farm Animal Welfare Council advice to government about the extent of hens' bone fractures in all production systems and the impact on welfare.



The incidence of bone damage in laying hens is high and may be getting worse. Bone fractures experienced by hens either during lay or at depopulation have a serious impact on the welfare of the birds affected.

Bone fractures come about by a combination of underlying and immediate causes, including osteoporosis in the hen, injuries occurring as a result of poor design and management of housing systems and poor handling during depopulation. FAWC has identified that improvements can be made through targeted nutrition, selection of birds for improved bone quality, housing systems that enable birds to exercise and improve bone strength without injury and careful and considerate handling at depopulation.

FAWC would ideally like to see bone damage in live birds eliminated entirely. The egg industry and government should be working towards a strategy of time-related reduction in bone fractures both during lay and at depopulation.

You can read more about the work of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.