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Effects of horizontal distance between perches on perching behaviors of Lohmann Hens

Published on Sep 1, 2017in Applied Animal Behaviour Science1.817
· DOI :10.1016/j.applanim.2017.05.001
Kai Liu4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Iowa State University),
Hongwei Xin32
Estimated H-index: 32
(Iowa State University)
Sources
Abstract
Abstract Perching is a highly-motivated natural behavior of laying hens that has been considered as one of the essential welfare requirements. The objective of the study was to evaluate perching behaviors of laying hens as affected by horizontal distance (HD) between parallel perches. A total of 48 Lohmann white hens in three groups (16 hens/group) were used, 68 weeks of age at the experiment onset. For each group, hens were housed in an enriched wire-mesh floor pen (120 cm L × 120 cm W × 120 cm H) equipped with two round galvanized tube perches (120 cm long × 32 mm diameter, an average of 15 cm perch space/hen). HD was varied sequentially at 60, 40, 30, 25, 20 and 15 cm and then in reverse order. A real-time monitoring system was developed to continuously record hen’s perching behaviors. The number or proportion of perching hens, perching duration, and perching trip and frequency were analyzed using an automated VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) program developed in Microsoft Excel. Heading direction of the perching hens and pattern of the perch occupancy were determined manually by video observation. Results showed that reduction of HD to 25 cm did not restrain hens’ perching behaviors, whereas HD of 20 or 15 cm restrained perching to some extent. Specifically, at HD of 25 cm, hens perched interlacing with one another to maximize use of the perches during the dark period. As a result, the proportion of perching hens and perching duration for HD of 25 cm were not reduced as compared to HD of 30–60 cm. However, the proportion of perching hens was significantly reduced at HD of 15 cm (P = 0.001–0.025). HD of 15 and 20 cm also significantly reduced daily perching time of the hens. In contrast, perching trip or frequency and heading direction of the perching hens were not influenced by HD (15–40 cm) except for HD of 60 cm. The results suggest that although 30 cm is the recommended minimum HD, 25 cm may be considered for situations where additonal perches are necessary to meet all hens’ perching needs.
  • References (41)
  • Citations (1)
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References41
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#1A. M. Habinski (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 1
#2L. J. Caston (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 20
Last. T. M. Widowski (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 14
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Furnished rearing cages are becoming more widely available to replace conventional systems for pullets. To date, there is little information on how pullets develop perching behavior in furnished cages or how this varies among strains. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of perches and a platform in a commercial furnished rearing "Combi-Cage" system by 3 pure-bred heritage strains of pullets (Rhode Island Red, Columbian Rock, and White Leghorn). Each cage had 4 elevated locations:...
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Perching preference in laying hens is well analysed in several experimental studies. However, information about perch use on farm is scarce. The present study highlights perching preferences at daytime and night-time in 19 laying hen flocks on 18 farms with symmetric (n = 9) and asymmetric (n = 10) aviary systems. Perch use was higher during night than daytime and perches on high tiers were preferred compared to perches on low tiers. Within the low tier hens preferred the higher perches compared...
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#1Dana L.M. Campbell (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 9
#2M. M. Makagon (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 10
Last. Janice M. Siegford (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 16
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Non-cage housing systems, such as the aviary, are being implemented by the laying hen industry, including in North America, in an attempt to improve the welfare of hens. Perches are a resource that is consistently included in aviaries. Hens are strongly motivated to perch, and perching can improve leg bone strength. However, hens may prefer elevated perches, particularly at night, and thus simply providing perches is not enough to improve welfare; they must be provided in a way that allows all h...
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Abstract The objective of this study was to compare the flock-level prevalence of healed keel bone fractures and to benchmark other indicators of well-being in laying hens housed in conventional cages and single-tier floor housing systems at several points during the production period. Commercial farms in Ontario, Canada, that housed hens in cages (n = 9) or floor barns (n = 8) were included. Flocks were beak-trimmed brown hens of various strains. Each flock was visited at 20, 35, 50, and 65 wk ...
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Non-cage housing systems for laying hens such as aviaries provide greater freedom to perform species-specific behavior and thus are thought to improve welfare of the birds; however, aviaries are associated with a high prevalence of keel bone damage (fractures and deviations), which is a major welfare problem in commercial laying hens. Potential causes of keel bone damage are falls and collisions with internal housing structures that occur as birds move between tiers or perches in the aviary. The...
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#1S Jiang (SWU: Southwest University)H-Index: 1
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Abstract Fatty liver is a common energy metabolic disorder in caged laying hens. Considering that the egg industry is shifting from conventional cages to alternative housing systems such as enriched cages, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of perches on fat deposition and liver health in laying hens. Three hundred twenty-four 17-wk-old White Leghorn hens were housed in 1 of 4 treatments with 9 hens per cage. Treatment 1 hens never had access to perches during their life cy...
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The public wants assurances that animals used for food are raised humanely. Conventional cages for egg laying hens do not meet hen's behavioural needs, but cages have potential advantages such as improved liveability and respiratory health because of less aerial ammonia and dust as compared to non-cage systems. Providing amenities to cages might be a compromise that allows hens to reap some of the advantages of conventional cages and also better meet their behavioural needs. This review focuses ...
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#1Donghua Chen (NEAU: Northeast Agricultural University)H-Index: 4
#2Jun Bao (NEAU: Northeast Agricultural University)H-Index: 4
Last. Chun-bo WeiH-Index: 1
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Provision of perches in cages could improve behaviour and physical conditions of laying hens. This study was conducted to investigate the choice of perch characteristics (shape, width, material and height) by caged hens under different group size, and to understand the choice by the perching behaviours of hens. This study was consisted of four trials: perch shape (rectangular and round in cross section), width (3.0 cm and 5.0 cm), material (steel, wood and plastic) and height (10 cm, 20 cm, 30 c...
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#1F. F. Yan (Purdue University)H-Index: 6
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Abstract The neuroendocrine system controls animals’ adaptability to their environments by releasing psychotropic compounds such as catecholamines [epinephrine (EP), norepinephrine (NE), and dopamine (DA)], corticosterone (CORT), and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT). Changes of these neuroendocrine compounds have been used as biomarkers of animals’ stress responses associated with their well-being. Assuming that pullets, like laying hens, are highly motivated to perch, we hypothesize that...
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A major skeletal problem of conventional- ly caged hens is increased susceptibility to osteoporosis mainly due to lack of exercise. Osteoporosis is charac- terized by a progressive decrease in mineralized struc- tural bone. Whereas considerable attention has been given to enriching laying cages, little research has been conducted on providing caged pullets with furnish- ments, in particular perches. The objective of the cur- rent study was to determine if metal perches during all or part of the ...
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#1Kai Liu (Iowa State University)H-Index: 4
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Abstract Provision of perches in enriched colony or cage-free hen housing facilitates birds’ ability to express natural behaviors, thus enhancing animal welfare. Although considerable research has been conducted on poultry perches, further investigation is needed of perching behavior and preference of laying hens to perch exposure and perch types. This study aimed to assess preference of young laying hens for round vs. hexagon perches and to characterize temporal perching behaviors of the young ...
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