Chicken stocking density set in Wales

All Welsh chicken producers will now have to comply with a maximum stocking density figure, even if they do not belong to an assurance scheme.

A new European Council Directive gives member states the option to allow producers that meet specific welfare standards to stock meat chickens up to a maximum density of 42kg/m2. However, Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones decided to set a lower maximum figure of 39kg/m2 in Wales.

The Directive 2007/43 sets conditions for keeping chickens for meat production from the time chicks are brought to production sites until they leave for slaughter. There is currently no legal maximum stocking density limit for conventionally reared meat chickens in domestic legislation, which means producers can operate at any stocking density, providing bird welfare is maintained.

A maximum stocking density of 39kg/m2 will set a level playing field for chicken producers while complementing existing assurance schemes. It means that those producers who do not belong to an assurance scheme will still have to comply with a maximum stocking density figure.