Externally funded project

Ökonomische Analyse eines Managementtools zur Verbesserung der Gesundheit von Legehennen auf ökologischen Betrieben

Project Details
Project duration: 20092013


management tool was developed and optimized comprising a recording and
assessment protocol regarding animal health and laying performance as well as
structured forms for feedback, including benchmarking, and decision support for
advisory purposes.

It was
applied and tested on 11 laying hen and 6 rearing farms over two rearing and
laying periods by trained advisors. Costs of application of the management tool
and implementation of advisory recommendations were analysed by comparing actual
and simulated cost-performance calculations.

On the
laying hen farms predominantly breast bone deviations (10 farms), incomplete
feathering and sometimes lesions due to feather pecking and cannibalism (4 farms),
and low body weight or flock uniformity (11 farms) were found. Risk factors
were mainly identified in the areas of process management, care during change
from rear to laying and feeding management. Consequently, improved process
management, increased control frequencies, provision of ascending aids early in
the laying period, feed analyses and feeding advice were among the recommended

Actual costs
per egg (without marketing) on the project farms were between 15.30 and 24.23 cent,
with a substantial cost degression with increasing farm size. The management
tool application would cost on average 1.35 cent/egg (2.81 – 0.59 cent/egg on
farms with about 1300 or 8000 to 9000 hens, respectively). In case of animal
health problems, the simulated improvement measures would cause additional
costs of 0.00 to 3.50 cent/egg when taking into account potential improvements
in laying performance. The break-even point on average would be at 20.45 cent/egg
(26.7 – 18.5 cent/egg).

Farmers and
advisors evaluated the management tool mostly to be practicable and helpful. Through
its broad approach and scientific foundation the tool provides a novel way to
transfer current knowledge regarding health management into practice. It
appears that an integration into a quality assurance system is possible.
However, additional costs may arise which should be compensated by higher egg
prices, especially for small farms.

Last updated on 2020-23-04 at 15:46