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STOCKING DENSITY

77. The existing welfare code for domestic fowls requires provision of sufficient space to allow freedom of movement so that the birds can, without difficulty, stand normally, turn round and stretch their wings. Birds should also have access to sufficient space for normal movements such as preening and wing-flapping. Such space is routinely provided to broiler breeders and the birds we saw had no difficulty in moving around the poultry houses. As the birds grow, stocking densities will rise steadily to a maximum of 25kg/mē at about 20 weeks. Because body weights during the laying period increase only slowly, and a significant number of males are culled, the gross stocking densities will change little after this time and, at depletion, seldom exceed this level.

Recommendations

78. Stocking density for broiler breeders should not exceed 25kg/mē, calculated by dividing the total weight of the birds in the house by total area available to the birds. The calculation should be on the basis of all stock within the house, including males.

79. The internal floor area available to the birds should be clearly and permanently displayed at the entrance to each house.