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      The effects of 2 genetic lines on spatial distribution and use and preference of perch and nest area in an aviary system

      , 1 , ,

      Poultry Science

      Elsevier

      laying hens, aviary systems, perch use

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          Abstract

          The objective of this trial was to evaluate spatial distribution, nest and perch usage, and preference of Lohmann Brown ( BH) and Bovan White ( WH) Leghorn hens raised in an aviary system. At 5 wk, 400 floor raised pullets, BH and WH strains, in equal numbers, were placed into 8 modified Big Dutchman Natura aviary units. Each aviary unit had 3 tiers with perches and an indoor litter area. At 25 wk, the number of birds was recorded by scan sampling every 4 h. The number of birds perching in each aviary unit was recorded every 4 h at 15, 25, and 35 wk. The number of eggs laid was recorded daily from 22 to 53 wk. A split-plot factorial design with Poisson distribution was used for analysis of spatial distribution and perch preference. Nest and perch usage was analyzed using a split-plot factorial design with binomial distribution. There was an interaction ( P < 0.0001) indicating that during late afternoon and night, a higher number of WH were observed in the middle and top tier while a higher number of BH were observed in the litter area and bottom tier at 25 wk. The odds of observing WH perching were higher than the odds of observing BH perching during late morning, late afternoon, and night at 15 wk, from early afternoon to night at 25 wk, and during all afternoon at 35 wk. WH had higher nest usage than BH expressed by the higher odds of observing eggs from the nest area ( P = 0.071). There was a strain and egg location interaction ( P < 0.0001) for number of eggs laid indicating that WH were laying more eggs in the nest area and litter floor area compared to BH, whereas BH were laying more eggs in the metal aviary wire tiers in comparison with WH. In conclusion, WH showed greater degree of adaptation to aviary systems than BH expressed by greater usage of perches and nest areas and elevated tiers.

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          Most cited references 15

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            Providing laying hens with perches: fulfilling behavioural needs but causing injury?

            1. The EU laying hen directive, which bans standard battery cages from 2012, has implications for animal welfare, particularly since housing laying hens in extensive systems, while increasing natural behaviour and improving bone strength, is associated with a greater level of bone fractures, predominantly of the keel bone, compared to birds housed in cages. 2. The aetiology and welfare consequences of keel and other bone fractures are not well understood and could have important implications for housing system designs. While proposed alterations to layer housing are based on the desire to fulfil behavioural needs and increase bone strength, there appears to have been little consideration of the effect of system on potential injury. 3. In addition, there are variations in how the directive is interpreted. For example, egg producers housing hens in extensive systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland must provide hens with aerial perches, whereas in England and Wales they do not. Aerial perches may be implicated in bone fracture injuries. 4. This paper reviews the prevalence of bone fractures in the egg-laying sector of the poultry industry and the literature on perches. It also explores how bone fractures may be occurring. 5. We propose some means of reducing bone fracture, namely through improved housing designs and genetic selection.
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              Behaviour of laying hens in two types of aviary systems on 25 commercial farms in Sweden.

               B Algers,  K Oden,  L Keeling (2002)
              1. Fifty-one flocks of laying hens in two high-density loose-housing systems were studied on 25 commercial farms in Sweden as part of a government test programme for evaluating new systems for laying hens. Six different hybrids were used in group sizes ranging from 250 to 5 000 birds. Stocking-densities varied from 10.2 to 19.1 birds per m2 floor area. No birds were beak trimmed. 2. The distribution of birds in the system, the frequency and location of aggressive pecks and feather pecks, the dust bathing activity and the birds' fear reaction to the keeper and to a novel object were measured. Direct behaviour observations were carried out twice per flock, at weeks 35 and 55. 3. The proportion of birds at the different locations was relatively constant across the 8-h observation period in the tiered system, but changed over time in the perch system, which may reflect a difference in access to resources between the systems. At night the top perches/tiers were preferred although when stocking-density increased, other sites were also used. 4. Aggression occurred mainly on the litter or in the nest areas. It did not differ between hybrids, but increased with age in the tiered system. Feather pecks occurred mainly on the litter. Brown hybrids feather pecked more than white ones, while white hybrids reacted more both to the keeper and to a novel object than did the brown hybrids. 5. It was concluded that access to nests was insufficient in both systems, as was litter space. Feed space was insufficient in the tiered system if food requirements increased. Design of the top perches, in the perch system, should be improved to allow birds to perch high up in the system without blocking access to feed etc. for others.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Poult Sci
                Poult Sci
                Poultry Science
                Elsevier
                0032-5791
                1525-3171
                26 April 2020
                July 2020
                26 April 2020
                : 99
                : 7
                : 3328-3333
                Affiliations
                []University of Nebraska, Department of Animal Science, Lincoln, NE 68583
                []University of Nebraska, Department of Statistics, Lincoln, NE 68583
                Author notes
                [1 ]Corresponding author: spurdum2@ 123456unl.edu
                Article
                S0032-5791(20)30232-7
                10.1016/j.psj.2020.03.056
                7597846
                32616226
                © 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                Categories
                Animal Well-Being and Behavior

                laying hens, aviary systems, perch use

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