DEFRA has opened its Laying Hen Housing for Health and Welfare grant scheme to producers.

Farmers can apply to replace or upgrade existing laying hen or pullet housing (a ‘comprehensive’ project) or add a veranda onto existing laying hen or pullet housing (a ‘veranda-only’ project).

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The £22m pot was announced by farming minister Mark Spencer at this year’s Pig & Poultry Fair, and form part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

They are split between grants of £15k to £0.5m towards the refurbishment or replacement of existing hen and pullet housing to improve health and welfare.

Alternatively, producers will be able to apply for £5k to £100k for new verandas on existing buildings.

Online checker

Both grants will potentially cover 40% of overall costs.

An ‘online checker’ opened on 26 September that will allow farm businesses to make an initial online application – this closes on 18 September this year.

If, following this, an application is deemed to be suitable, the Rural Payments Agency will invite a full application.

Defra said: “The success of your application will depend on the score your project achieves (comprehensive projects only) and the number and value of applications we receive (comprehensive and veranda-only projects).”

More information can be found on Defra’s website.