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Effects of stocking density, flock size and management on the welfare of laying hens in single-tier aviaries

Published on Apr 1, 2006in British Poultry Science1.42
· DOI :10.1080/00071660600610609
Christine J Nicol51
Estimated H-index: 51
(UoB: University of Bristol),
S. N. Brown38
Estimated H-index: 38
(UoB: University of Bristol)
+ 5 AuthorsLj Wilkins18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UoB: University of Bristol)
Abstract
1. Management practices, stocking rate and flock size may affect laying hen welfare but there have been few replicated studies in commercial non-cage systems that investigate this. This study used a broad range of physical and physiological indicators to assess the welfare of hens in 36 commercial flocks. 2. Six laying period treatments were examined with each treatment replicated 6 times. It was not possible to randomly allocate treatments to houses, so treatment and house were largely confounded. 3. Three stocking rates were compared: 7 birds/m2 (n = 2450), 9 birds/m2 (n = 3150) and 12 birds/m2 in either small (n = 2450) or large (n = 4200) flocks. In addition, at 12 birds/m2, in both small and large flocks, birds were subjected to either standard (SM) or modified (MM) management. MM flocks had nipple drinkers and no nest-box lights. 4. Bone strength, fracture incidence, heterophil:lympocyte (H:L) ratio, live weight, organ weights, serum creatine, serum osmolality, muscle pH and faecal corticosterone we...
  • References (30)
  • Citations (75)
References30
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