End-user materials from the Hennovation project

Hennovation: “Practice lead innovation supported by science and market-driven actors in the laying hen and other livestock sectors”

The Hennovation project demonstrated the potential of innovation led by producers and industry (on-farm, during transport and at the abattoir) through the establishment of innovation networks that proactively searched for and utilized new ideas to make their business more efficient and sustainable. The networks initially tackle two particular issues of concern in the production chain: injurious pecking and the transport and use of end-of-lay hens. 19 innovation networks were mobilized at different levels of the production chain, local, national and European level in five countries (United Kingdom, Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain and The Czech Republic) These networks were supported by science driven-actors, such as veterinary surgeons, farm advisors and scientific researchers, and market-driven actors, such as those that buy eggs e.g. retailers, packers, food processors, and those certifying egg production e.g. farm assurance companies and certification schemes.

The on-farm networks, 15 in total, focussed on various aspects that are known to have influence on injurious pecking. Injurious pecking is a problem that has many risk factors and the networks tested a variety of innovative ideas. The off-farm networks, four in total, focussed on various aspects that are relevant for catching and transport of End-of-Lay hens.

Alongside product or technical innovation (e.g. new design of trolleys for depopulation, new type of litter material to reduce stress and encourage natural behaviour or the use of alpacas in organic systems to reduce predation), a variety of often less expected and sometimes unintended ‘soft’ innovations also emerged through these networks. These were related to protocol or process (e.g. a new way of monitoring Poultry Red Mite infestation and new relationships between production chain actors, for example the pullet rearers).

Based on the innovative ideas tested by the innovation networks 38 Practice Abstracts and an additional five technical notes were developed by the network facilitators for use in practice by end-users.

TN# Hennovation Technical notes
1 TN01 Monitoring Poultry Red Mite (available in English and Spanish)
2 TN02 A superior method of depopulating end-of-lay hens from enriched (colony) cages
3 TN03 Reducing predation of free ranging hens
4 TN04 Finally you have decided to cook hen!
5 TN05 Novel range cover options within an organic system


PA # Hennovation Practice Abstracts
1 PA 1 Light in the laying hen houses
2 PA 2 Feather scoring as a management tool to reduce injurious feather pecking in flocks with intact beaks.
3 PA 3 Adjustments of stocking density according to outside air temperature during transport of end-of-lay hens.
4 PA 4 Improving the catching and transporting of Laying hens to Slaughter at the End -of-Lay by adding value to hen meat.
5 PA 5 Chick rearing conditions crucial to prevent later feather pecking.
6 PA 6 How to keep laying hens with intact beaks – learning together.
7 PA 7 An easy monitoring method to improve control of Poultry Red Mite in laying hen flocks
8 PA 8 Critical points during catching and transport of end of lay hens
9 PA 9 Selection criteria for laying hen litter
10 PA 10 Litter for laying hens: rape seed straw and fibre hemp straw
11 PA 11 Climate checklist to reduce injurious feather pecking in laying hens
12 PA 12 Measures to suppress poultry red mite populations in henhouses
13  PA 13 Use of a spinosad to prevent red mites
14  PA 14 Unifying the dress code on farms reduces stress in laying hens
15  PA 15 Use of a cost-benefit tool to improve the business performance of egg production enterprises
16  PA 16 Evaluating innovations for on-farm use
17 PA 17 Influence of crate lids on welfare of hens
18 PA 18 Factors affecting dead on arrival (DOA) during hens’ transport
19 PA 19 Influence of handling on injuries during hen transport
20 PA 20 Glossy objects motivate the hens to redirect unwanted feather pecking behaviour.
21 PA 21 Maximise range behaviour and foraging by planting cover crops
22 PA 22 Positive effects of oats in the laying hen diet
23 PA 23 The benefits of providing roughage to laying hens
24 PA 24 Laying hens want to dust bath in peat
25 PA 25 The shade created by the trees around the farm improves the microclimate.
26 PA 26 Mesh on the floor helps newly placed laying hens adjust to aviary systems.
27 PA 27 Reducing the risk of injury when transferring hens at the end of lay from furnished cages to transport lorries
28 PA 28 Evaluating commercial innovations
29 PA 29 Monitoring of poultry red mite using measuring traps: an easy, cheap and effective method.
30 PA 30 Monitoring poultry red mite allows you to anticipate and optimise treatment.
31 PA 31 Sand may be an easier litter material for wet conditions
32 PA 32 Can sand litter maintain better feather cover?
33 PA 33 Monitoring the impact of feed additives to improve the gut-health of laying hens.
34 PA 34 Maximise ranging behaviour by planting trees
35 PA 35 Methods to reduce predation of free ranging hens
36 PA 36 Recommendations for using alpacas as guardians of free range hens
37 PA 37 Comparison of different ways to measure ammonia levels in the laying hen shed
38 PA 38 Risk assessment of each flock at end-of-lay reduces losses

A full version of the Hennovation Practice abstracts (i.e. end-user materials) listed above can be found here.