BFREPA said the updated regulations to provide at least 8cm of perching per bird were ‘practically impossible’.
Revisions to RSPCA Assured hen perching requirements have been criticised by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) through its demand to implement time-limited concessions and derogations for affected producers.
As part of the updated scheme, all 250 producers must provide at least 8cm of perching per bird of all flocks housed after August 2018.
But BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch said many producers were struggling to fit the new perches into single-tier houses, with mobile units and some older shed designs proving ‘particularly problematic’.
In some cases, the design made it ‘practically impossible’, he added.
BFREPA initially fought the proposals amid concerns additional furniture in sheds would lead to an increase in injuries to hens and hamper stockmanship.
“We are now coming up to crunch time in terms of implementation and RSPCA Assured must step up to the plate and provide the resources to show how to deliver this new standard imposed on producers,” Mr Gooch said.
“RSPCA Assured should provide time-limited concessions for those attempting to meet the standard, and derogations for those whose house structures are unable to take the loading for the health and safety of both birds and the farmer and their staff.”