Poultry - Layers

Code revision initiatedJan 2012
Public comment periodJune 30 - August 29, 2016
Estimated Code release dateDecember 2016

Code Development Progress

The process for updating the Code of Practice for poultry-layers began April 2012, using the NFACC Code development process. Egg Farmers of Canada initiated the review with the support of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and Pullet Growers of Canada.

Priority Welfare Issues List

The priority welfare issues are species specific, manageable topics that are considered to be important for animal welfare and will particularly benefit from a review of the available scientific literature.

The Scientific Committee (SC) and delegates from sectors represented on the CDC collectively identified the priority welfare issues list at a Code Orientation Meeting that was held in April 2012. The SC then synthesized this list into a manageable list of Priority Welfare Issues for which research literature will be reviewed over the course of approximately one year. Following its review of scientific literature for each issue, the SC will develop a report that summarizes the research results. The SC will also identify gaps that would benefit from further research. See full SC Terms of Reference.

The CDC will use the SC report to develop requirements and recommendations around the priority welfare issues.

Following is the priority welfare issues list for the Poultry-Layers Code update:

  • Feather Pecking and Cannibalism
    • Environmental factors
    • Effects of rearing environment
    • Genetic factors and strain differences
    • Nutritional factors
    • Lighting
    • Consideration of beak treatments as a control measure
  • Bone Health
    • Nutrition
    • Management practices
    • Other factors
  • Rearing Methods
    • Facilitating pullet adaptation to adult housing
    • Reducing fear
  • Beak Treatment
  • Housing: Conventional, Furnished and Non-Cage Systems
    • Report by issues (e.g. – disease; foot health; etc.)
    • What is required for hens to be able to express natural behaviour?
  • Housing: Space Allowance and Group Sizes for all Systems
    • Ability to access resources and enrichments


Poultry-Layer Code Development Committee

Role Committee Member
Code secretary Betsy Sharples
Code Development Committee chair Glen Jennings
Producer (West) Walter Siemens
Producer (Central) Hubert Schillings
Producer (East) Hannah Searle
Pullet producer Andy DeWeerd
Transporter / catcher David Robert
Veterinarian Mike Petrik 
Animal welfare organization Ian J. Duncan
Animal welfare regulatory enforcement body Penny Lawlis
Retail and food service organization Carole Fortin
Egg processors (breeder/hatchery) Diane Brodeur
Egg processors (grader) Leanne Cooley 
Egg processors (breaker) Helen Anne Hudson
Agriculture Canada and/or CFIA Réjean Gaumond
Agriculture Canada and/or CFIA Michelle Groleau
Researcher / academic Tina Widowski
Technical expertise George A. Ansah
Industry liaison (ex-officio) Chris Nash

Participants are defined as per NFACC’s Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice.

Poultry-Layer Code Scientific Committee

  • Henry Classen
  • Ruth Newberry
  • Mike Petrik
  • Karen Schwean-Lardner 
  • Tina Widowski (Chair)
  • Stephanie Yue Cottee (Research Writer)
  • Bernadette Cox, Egg Farmers of Canada (ex-officio)

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.

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