Chapter 901:12-9 Poultry Layers
The administrative rules in Chapter 901:12-9 of the Administrative Code apply exclusively to poultry layers as defined in section 904.01 of the Revised Code and rule 901:12-3-01 of the Administrative Code.
(A) "Cage Housing Systems" means one of the following layer housing systems:
(1) "Conventional battery cage system" is a housing system in an enclosed or open-sided building where the layer is maintained in a cage, and which does not meet the definition of an enriched cage system in paragraph (A)(2) of this rule; and,
(2) "Enriched cage system" is a housing system that provides features in addition to feed and water, such as areas for nesting, scratching, perching and/or dust bathing.
(B) "Cage-free Housing System" is a housing system where the layers are not exclusively housed in a cage. This includes, but is not limited to free-range pasture, aviaries, fixed houses, portable houses, pasture pens, and integrated systems.
(C) "Existing Farm" for purposes of this chapter, means all land that houses pullets, layers, or breeders utilizing any housing system as of the effective date of this rule, and any land contiguous to such "existing farm" acquired by the owner or operator of the "existing farm" before or after the effective date of this rule. The sale, transfer and/or partition of an "existing farm" after the effective date of this rule does not void its status as an "existing farm."
(D) "Conditioning" is the trimming of the beak or the partial/complete removal of the comb, toenail, and dewclaw for the purpose of prevention of injury during the growth or maturity of poultry.
(A) Water may be withheld based on specific direction, written or verbal, of a licensed veterinarian and only for the period of time specified by the veterinarian; or,
(B) Water may be restricted or withheld temporarily by the responsible party in circumstances such as:
(1) Preparation for administration of vaccines or medication in the water;
(2) Preparation for transportation; or,
(3) Specific management practices, according to the farm's operating procedures.
(A) The responsible party must catch, lift and move poultry humanely.
(B) Except for paragraph (C) of rule 901:12-3-05 of the Administrative Code, birds can be caught or carried by one or both legs, and are not to be caught, carried or lifted by the head, neck or tail.
(C) The following livestock management procedures are acceptable to minimize injury to the birds and, if performed, must be performed in a humane manner:
(1) Beak conditioning;
(2) Toenail conditioning;
(3) Dubbing; and,
(4) Induced molting:
If induced molting is used, the following conditions must also be met:
(a) Must use only non-feed withdrawal methods;
(b) Layers must be fed a maintenance ration for non-producing layers;
(c) The light period must be reduced to no fewer than six hours in closed houses, or to natural day length in open houses, for the duration of the rest period. When the flock is placed back on a layer diet, lights should be returned to the normal layer program; and,
(d) During molt, flock health, mortality and bird weight must be monitored.
(D) Environmental management must be designed to control rodents, non-beneficial insects, and parasite infestation in the birds, as it applies to the flock's housing system.
(E) All poultry housing systems must meet the following requirements:
(1) Housing must provide a clean and safe environment that promotes the health, welfare and performance of layers at all stages of their lives;
(2) Bedding, if provided, must be of a good quality and absorbent;
(3) Environmental moisture must be managed, whether birds are housed indoors or outdoors, to promote flock health and welfare;
(4) Maximum stocking densities must allow all poultry;
(a) To rest at the same time without being forced to rest on top of each other at all stages of production; and,
(b) To have access to feed and water without excessive competition that prevents the individual animals from maintaining normal body condition
(5) Housing must be designed and maintained in a manner which:
(a) Seeks to minimize the effects of adverse weather conditions;
(b) Seeks to minimize conditions in which the bird cannot effectively thermo-regulate;
(c) Provides sufficient ventilation to reduce concentrations of carbon monoxide, ammonia and dust; and,
(d) Provides backup systems in working condition, in houses/barns that require mechanized ventilation.
(6) Light intensity must be adequate for observation during inspection; and
(7) If natural light is not available, artificial light must be provided for rearing and production.
(F) Conventional battery cage systems must meet the following requirements:
(1) Systems installed after the effective date of this rule must be such that manure from birds in upper cage levels does not drop directly on birds in lower level cages;
(2) The slope of the cage floor must not exceed eight degrees;
(3) Systems installed on existing farms after the effective date of this rule must provide for a minimum of sixty-seven square inches per layer;
(4) For systems installed prior to the effective date of this rule, house/barn averaging must result in a minimum average of sixty-seven square inches per layer five years after the effective date of this rule;
(5) An existing layer/pullet farm, after the effective date of this rule, is not precluded from an expansion using current cage housing systems; and,
(6) Conventional battery cages systems may not be installed, after the effective date of the rule, on any farm not defined as an existing farm.
(7) Any housing system on an existing farm may be replaced with the same housing system in the case of a catastrophic event, including but not limited to fire, flood, wind or building collapse, that requires new construction to replace the existing housing system.
(G) Enriched cage systems must, at a minimum, comply with paragraphs (F)(1) to (F)(5) of this rule.
(H) Cage-free housing systems must meet the following requirements:
(1) Cage-free housing systems installed after the effective date of this rule must provide a minimum of one hundred forty-four square inches per layer;
(2) If perches are provided, they must be positioned to minimize fecal fouling of layers, feeders and drinkers below;
(3) If multi-tiered perches are used, each tier must allow hens to safely access other vertical tiers, including the floor;
(4) If nests are provided, they must be cleaned as necessary to ensure that manure does not accumulate;
(5) For cage-free systems installed prior to the implementation date of these standards, the responsible party must meet paragraphs (H)(1) to (H)(4) of this rule five years after the effective date of this rule; and,
(6) Cage-free layers with access to the outdoors must be provided reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions and predators.
The density in poultry conveyances must allow the birds to rest at the same time without being forced to rest on top of each other.