About The Project


To support egg production in non-cage systems and to improve animal welfare, a consortium consisting of 7 partners will develop Best Practices for Non-cage Egg Production Systems as a European Commission, DG SANTE pilot project. These Best Practices will provide practical support to egg producers to encourage them convert from cage systems to non-cage systems, including organic production. This pilot project has started in May 2021 and will finish by in May 2023.


To prepare and provide practical support to egg producers to encourage them convert from cage systems to non-cage systems. a. This applies to both the rearing of laying hens and the keeping of laying hens in the production period.

To ensure a wide dissemination of the information collected in the best practices through the development of communication materials. Best practices should provide the birds with the best possible welfare given commercial situations.

To organise dissemination events targeting Member States with a high percentage of cage systems to increase the application of non-cage housing system in the target Member States

The project comprises 5 tasks:

Task 1: Presentation of the Work Plan and Methodology

Task 2: Collecting and assessing scientific, technical and practical information

Task 3: Drafting Best Practices

Task 4: Consulting stakeholders and finalising best practices

Task 5: Developing and implementing dissemination strategies

State of play regarding percentage of non-cage housing systems

This figure represents the state of the play regarding non-cage housing systems for laying hens in the partner countries which are Netherlands and Denmark, who also collect information from Germany, France and Austria. Local situation of the target countries (with low % of non-cage systems) is collected by Spain (who also collects information from Portugal), Belgium and Poland. Information regarding indicators of animal welfare and the specific situation for organic farming will be taken into account. All information combined will be discussed with stakeholders from both countries with high and low % of non-cage egg production and will finally lead to Best Practices for the target countries.

Moreover, the figure summarizes the approach taken in Best Practice Hens. The state of play will be formulated based on information from countries where a high % of birds is already kept in non-cage systems (blue). Further, information regarding the local situation and opportunities and challenges for the switch to non-cage systems are collected in the target countries, that currently have a low % of non-cage systems (orange). Together, this information will be used to formulate best practices (green), that fit with both sources of information. Best practices will be refined in consultation with stakeholders and finally they will be disseminated in the countries with a low % of non-cage system and at a large international industry meeting in Brussels.

Overview of the various housing systems for rearing and laying period and their connections

This figure presents all categories of housing systems for both the rearing and laying period. The aim is to reduce/phase out the orange-coloured categories and replace them by the blue coloured categories. The green arrows indicate the connection between type of housing during rearing and during the laying period, the dotted arrows are less frequently occurring and the orange dotted line is undesirable. Best Practice Hens will exclusively focus on non-cage systems.



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