North America’s first-ever research study exploring healthy feather cover in laying hens


Feathers play an important role in helping hens regulate their body temperature and navigate their surroundings. This is why maintaining healthy feather cover in laying hens by reducing or eliminating feather damage is an important issue for Canadian egg farmers.

To gain a better understanding of the conditions that lead to feather pecking in flocks, researchers from the University of Guelph developed North America’s first-ever study on feather damage in laying hens. Through surveys and examinations, researchers identified factors that lead to feather damage and created a guide to help farmers promote healthy feather cover.

“If we keep following up and continuing this research we can really get down to it and try to find out what kind of management strategies farmers can use to help prevent or reduce feather pecking in their flocks,” says Dr. Nienke van Staaveren, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Guelph.

Hear more from the researchers involved in the study in our video:

Learn more about the results from this project by reading our research summary.