Best practice for on-farm euthanasia of spent layer hens
At the end of lay, spent layers have historically been caught, crated and transported to various poultry processing plants where they are processed for use in a variety of human food products. Due to the reduced commercial value of such products and the imposed charges applied to collecting spent layers, egg producers are looking for alternative ways of removing spent layer hens.
On-farm euthanasia of spent hens, coupled with a disposal method, has become a viable option and has already been taken up by many egg producers. It is essential for individual layer farms to establish standard operating procedures to ensure that this activity is undertaken in a sustainable and welfare compliant manner. It is also necessary that the disposal of these birds is carried out in accordance with environmental protection guidelines.
These guidelines were developed to assist the Australian egg industry to undertake efficient and welfare-sensitive mass euthanasia of spent layer hens.