Optimising the use of the free range as the key to improve organic chicken production

Project Details


Main research question/goal

Within the European CORE Organic project Freebirds, ILVO and the University of Utrecht study the ranging behavior of individual hens and relate that to their welfare and production. 

Research approach

On the ILVO experimental farm, the ranging behavior of individual laying hens is observed. The range is separated into groups with access to dense vegetation and sparse vegetation. Individual chickens within a flock are fitted with sensors to track their movements.


Until now, it has been difficult to track individuals in a flock. Ranging behavior is therefore still difficult to assess on individual level. A logical outcome of more knowledge about the variation between individuals' ranging behaviour would be to optimize structural aspects of the free range area.

Funding provider(s)
EU Horizon2020

External partner(s)
Aarhus University
Louis Bolk Instituut
SLU - Swedisch University of Agricultural Sciences
Universiteit Utrecht
Wageningen UR - Livestock Research
Effective start/end date1/04/1831/03/21