Main research question
In the PREBEBIOLEG project, we aim to provide organic poultry farmers with feasible procedures in order to simultaneously provide their laying hens with optimal health and animal welfare and to maintain their farm in terms of technical results and return on investment. Concretely, it concerns the problem of helmintic (worm) infections, a common phenomenon in laying hen farming. For the prevention and control of these infections the project partners are developing new insights, concepts and innovations. Pursuant to recent European legislation (from 1/1/21 onwards), organic layer farmers are obliged to build in a minimum waiting period of 48 hours each time they use the (only permitted) allopathic medicine flubendazole. This has increased the urgency for feasible solutions.
Non-treatment of helmintic (worm) infections is detrimental to the welfare of the laying hens. We start by listing potential innovative control methods. Based on these, we will draw up so-called 'Standard Operation Procedures' (SOPs), which indicate how poultry farmers can prevent worm infections in animals (prevention) or prevent them from spreading further. The researchers check the workability of some SOPs by implementing them as a test at a laying hen farm. The farm in question is monitored on a monthly basis after the introduction of the SOPs and this during a complete laying round. The worm infection pressure is monitored in consultation with the company veterinarian, so the researchers facilitate the application of the knowledge. Efficient knowledge dissemination is key.
This project increases the knowledge and awareness of organic and non-organic poultry farmers about the added value (reduction of treatment costs, more productive poultry) of disease prevention and monitoring. We expect that the SOPs developed after our implementation on a practical farm will show good applicability and effectiveness, and that we will also discover possible gaps, after which possible adjustments can be made.