Management practices in pullet rearing in Finland – a review and descriptive questionnaire survey

Hanne-Maarit Rantanen, Tuula Hyyrynen, Laila Rossow, Ulla Holma and Anna-Maija Virtala


Pullets are taken from the pullet breeders to the henhouses at the age of 16 weeks. In 2003, there were about 35 pullet breeders in Finland. Some sold their pullets to organic production. Management practices in the pullet rearing houses have not previously been investigated in Finland. During this survey, 13 pullet rearing houses were surveyed by phone. According to the results, pullets housed both in battery and floor rearing had more space than is required in animal welfare regulations. More regular weightgain-follow-up is recommended. Additionally, vaccines instead of coccidiostats should be used. More attention should be paid on the practices in rearing pullets for organic or free-range production, because nowadays stimuli, sand bathing possibilities and in many cases perches are lacking. The parasitic loads in the pullet rearing houses should be investigated since they have a direct effect on the parasitic loads in hen houses. The suggested recommendations are important since after 2012 the use of conventional cages in egg production will cease and hens must be kept in furnished cages or offered free-ranging.