Improving housing conditions for poultry in Ukraine? An investigation conducted by two Dutchmen


Peter van Horne and Jan Hulzebosch were asked to conduct research into how Ukrainian producers can increase exports of eggs to Europe through adopting more animal friendly housing systems. As such, they were invited to make a field visit to two layer farms in Ukraine.

The layer farms in Ukraine are very large, particularly when compared to the farms in Holland. In Holland, most of the farms are family farms, meaning that all the work is done by the farmer and his family, sometimes with one or two laborers. Whereas, the layer farms in Ukraine are operated by large integrated companies employing many workers.

The farm we visited had a capacity of 400.000 rearing birds and 1.200.000 laying birds and following the completion of the planned renovation works, these figures are expected to rise by 30%. Our mission was to collect the data required for a study to assess whether bird friendly housing systems in Ukraine are technically and economically feasible. There is undoubtedly a lot of work to do if Ukrainian farms wish to switch to comparable housing systems for layers, as is common in the EU. This is largely due to the fact that the vast majority of layers are still kept in traditional cage systems.

Due to the size of the poultry houses and the drastic drop in temperature low during the winter in Ukraine, they are sometimes built on top of each other. This approach uses space more efficiently whilst saving a substantial amount on heating costs in winter. We had an excellent visit to Ukraine and received all the support that was required from the farm staff and, also, from our guide and translator, Andreii. In summary, we can say that this was an interesting and very informative field visit, which gave us a lot of information regarding the layer farms in Ukraine required for the study.

We would like to thank the Ukrainian farm staff for their cooperation and support. We would also like to thank Andreii, for perfectly arranging the trip and providing flawless translation.