The legislation comprises general provisions on light, air quality, noise and hygiene as well as a requirement for the necessity of a sufficient number of personnel with adequate knowledge concerning laying hen farming. The order also states that beak trimming must only be performed by skilled personnel, only on chickens less than 10 days, and no more than the outer third of the beak may be removed. Furthermore, the use of “spectacles” and “contact lenses”, in order to avoid feather pecking and cannibalism, is prohibited.
The hens must be inspected at least once a day.
The order further lays down specific provisions on cage systems and on alternative systems.
Specific provisions regarding cage systems include the prohibition of traditional cages as of 1 January 2012, while the use of enriched cages is still allowed.
Traditional cages were gradually phased out after 1999, and the last production of eggs for consumption in traditional cages stopped before 1 January 2012.
As regards enriched cages, some provisions are stricter than the laying hen directive. For instance, only a maximum of 10 birds per cage is allowed, and no more than 3 tiers are allowed.
Also, the provisions regarding laying hens in alternative systems are on some points stricter than the EU minimum requirements. For instance, the stocking density in systems with more than 1 tier must not exceed 18 hens per m2 accessible floor space.
There are close to 190 producers of eggs for consumption in Denmark and around 3.3 mill laying hens.