Keeping farmed animals – guidance

Poultry: on-farm welfare

Code of recommendations and guidance for laying hens, meat chickens, ducks, turkeys and other birds bred on farms.

Documents

Laying hens: code of recommendations for the welfare of livestock

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Meat chickens and breeding chickens: code of recommendations for the welfare of livestock

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Detail

On 6 December 2016 Defra announced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone to help protect poultry from a highly pathogenic strain of avian flu present in Europe. Poultry keepers must keep chickens, hens, ducks and turkeys housed indoors where practicable, or keep them separate from wild birds. For farmed geese, gamebirds and other captive birds where housing is less practicable, keepers must take steps to keep them separate from wild birds. The zone covers the whole of England and will remain in place until 6 January 2017.

As a poultry keeper you must look after poultry in ways that meet their welfare needs, making sure they don’t experience any unnecessary distress, suffering or heat stress.

You need to follow the guide to looking after farm animals. It explains your general responsibilities to farm animals and helps you follow the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2007 and related laws.

You and any staff working with animals must read, understand and have access to the relevant welfare code of recommendations for any birds you look after. Welfare codes aren’t law, but if you don’t follow them it can be used as evidence in court if you’re prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to livestock or poultry.

Some of the references to legislation in the welfare codes of recommendations are now out of date and instead you should reference the following as needed: