The goal for FreeBirds is to develop more successful husbandry practices in organic poultry production in order to make the chickens be more outdoor, in accordance with the intentions of the organic concept.
The outdoor stay improves the bird welfare and consolidates consumer acceptance and marketing of the organic products.
The welfare of organic broiler and egg production can be improved all over Europe.
Birds with less access to outdoor areas have more welfare problems such as, injurious pecking and parasites. Therefore, birds that spend more time outdoors have a better welfare.
However, free range access may have negative impacts: it can increase the risk for diseases carried by wildlife, predation and contact with soil contaminants. Manure produced in the free range can also have a negative effect on the environment.
For many consumers of organic food, not only the product that they buy in the shops determines the quality of eggs and chicken meat. They also acknowledge the perceived welfare status of the chickens and hens as an important aspect of the food. Thus, they rely on the perceived welfare friendliness of the production.
Therefore, producers of organic chickens and egg need to live up to the expectations of consumers and ensure high levels of bird welfare.
Organic systems are viewed as having the potential to ensure high levels of animal welfare, but these objectives are not always achieved. The FreeBirds project specifically addresses these issues of bird health and welfare and environmental impact for more knowledge for improving the welfare of organic laying hens and broiler chickens.
We aim for reaching farmers producing organic broilers and eggs, as well as, the advisors in the sector. Farmers and advisors will get knowledge about the results from our project by popular reports and articles in popular agricultural press.