It is generally agreed free range laying hens should be encouraged to use the range since it provides them with additional space, it reduces the density of birds within the house during daytime hours and it encourages natural behaviours such as foraging.
There is also evidence that flocks that spend more time outside are generally healthier, less likely to become involved in damaging pecking activity and as a consequence are better feathered and more productive than flocks that do not range well, says ADAS consultant Alison Wintrip.
“Poor range conditions can have negative impacts on the health and welfare of flocks. If birds tend to stay close to the house for security or because they are not stimulated to explore further, then range conditions may deteriorate in this area, leading to bare ground, parasite build-up and standing water.”
The meetings will provide free range producers an opportunity to learn more about what science and experience says about ranging, tips on how to get birds to use the range and how to keep the range in good condition.
The meetings are free to attend and are taking place in Essex, Devon, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk.
For more details or to book your place, contact Carol Gough on 01354 692 531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.