The European Commission has produced a series of advice fact sheets on best practices for animal transport, including information on the movement of poultry.
The three-year pilot project, which concludes next year, aims to improve animal welfare during transport by developing and disseminating guides to good and best practice for the transport of the main livestock species.
There have been 16 partners across Europe with the project specifically targeting the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Romania and Greece.
The poultry report says that during transportation, various aspects are important to ensure bird comfort and welfare, which differ when transporting chicks compared to end of lay hens or broilers. It says:
• Special attention must be paid to avoid bone injuries in end of lay hens due to poor catching and handling conditions;
• Ensure good ventilation systems are in operation to protect adult birds from heat or cold stress during stress, which may impact on particular on poorly feathered hens;
• Atmospheric temperature control is also important for chicks in chick boxes – cold stress can lead to hypothermia and mortality;
• Water and feed restrictions during transport also have an impact, especially on adult birds;
• End of lay hens are often transported more than 12 hours, which can be very stressful, particularly in hot or cold weather conditions.
The study looks and gives advice on training for handlers, information on journey planning and preparation, including contingency plans, type of transport and space on the vehicle, preparation of birds for the journey and loading facilities.
It also gives good and better practice recommendations on water, feed and resting times, unloading of animals and their care following unloading and biosecurity, cleaning and disinfection