This report includes our desk research conducted in October 2021 and our in-person research conducted in December 2021.
Over a cumulative 19 day trip, research was conducted in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area (11 days) and across California (8 days). This report is a follow up to the previously written desk-researched mini report on the United States of America. Throughout the trip, key stakeholders including large and small-scale farmers, feed mills, and poultry experts were engaged to determine the potential feasibility and impact feed fortification would have on egg-laying hens in the US. Information from the industry was hard to come by due to inadequate data and the inaccessibility (e.g. biosecurity concerns) of producers. Feed mills also withheld information due to proprietary concerns. When health issues were brought up, most farmers reported healthy hens and were not aware of bone issues. Most farmers did complain about costs associated with production, including the cost of feed.
Since the costs of feed production are high, most farmers tend to purchase their feed from a local mill rather than make their own. Mills are required to display nutrients levels on their feed labels, but inconsistencies were found between what was displayed and laboratory test results. Although feed label regulations are in place, there are no laws or regulations in the US stipulating maximums or minimums for poultry feed nutrient levels.
Poultry experts agreed that a nutritional intervention would help reduce bone fractures, but that genetics and housing systems also play a part. Beyond industry connections, several local animal NGOs and EA community members were contacted. There were a handful of helpful organizations and people from both groups that aided in gathering data for this report.
Please read our full report below.