This afternoon we visited a company in Coevorden (NL) that makes plastic products including the “diamond”-shape poultry crates for a great number of slaughterhouses and transport companies. The main objective of our visit was to discuss the design of the poultry crates regarding safety, accessibility, hygiene and possible alternatives with access doors on the side. They also produce crates with side doors which are easy for people to open from the outside but chickens inside cannot fall out. It would be a great way to access birds during transport that are injured or suffering and need help. Unfortunately though, due to the measurements of theses crates, they are loaded so that the side-access doors do not face the outside on the truck but instead the inside. This means that there is no way of accessing the birds once the crates are piled. We proposed that the company works on this crate further so that the access doors can actually be opened during transport.
Another positive aspect of these particular crates was that the size of the gaps on the lower and uppers surfaces is small avoiding chickens´ limbs and heads from getting stuck or crushed.
We will keep in contact with this company and send them our final report on Chicken Welfare Problems During Transport.