Improving Leg Health in Broiler Chickens: A Systematic Review of the Effect of Environmental Enrichment

Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review of the effect of environmental enrichment on leg health in broiler chickens. The evaluation of leg health […]

Using motivation to feed as a way to assess the importance of space for broiler chickens

This paper describes a novel combination of feeding motivation and spatial preference testing. We used the feeding motivation test to determine a [`]low’ barrier height that broiler chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, that were not food deprived would cross to get to food, and a [`]high’ barrier height that food-deprived chickens would cross to get to […]

Space needs of broilers

There is continuing debate about the space needs and requirements of broiler chickens, The aims of this study were to measure the amount of floor area a six-week-old broiler occupies for different behaviours and to use the obtained results in two models to estimate the number of birds that can be kept per m2 in […]

Optical Flow, Flock Behaviour and Chicken Welfare

We used a combination of inexpensive camera equipment and statistical analysis of optical flow patterns to analyse the behaviour of 24 commercial broiler (meat) chicken flocks, Gallus gallus. Individual birds were not tracked or marked but the skew and kurtosis of flow patterns produced by the collective movements of the flocks were significantly correlated with […]

Separating the Impact of Group Size, Density, and Enclosure Size on Broiler Movement and Space Use At a Decreasing Perimeter to Area Ratio

The goal of this study was to determine the impact of enclosure size on space use and movement patterns of domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus), independent of group size and density. Research designed to estimate the effects of group size, density, or enclosure size involves inherent confounding between factors, clouding their individual effects. This experimental […]

Short- and long-term movement patterns in complex confined environments in broiler chickens: The effects of distribution of cover panels and food resources

In captivity, the positioning of structural enrichment and food resources influences behavior and space use. The aim of this experiment was to examine the influence of cover panels and the positioning of food resources on the movement and space use of domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus). Eight groups of 45 male chickens were used for […]

Effects of carprofen, meloxicam and butorphanol on broiler chickens’ performance in mobility tests

Lame broiler chickens perform poorly in standardised mobility tests and have nociceptive thresholds that differ from those of non-lame birds, even when confounding factors such as differences in bodyweight are accounted for. This study investigated whether these altered responses could be due to pain, by comparing performance in a Group Obstacle test and a Latency […]

Fit for transport? Broiler chicken fitness assessment for transportation to slaughter

EU legislation stipulates that unfit broilers may not be transported, but no guidelines for fitness-for-transport assessment are provided. Moreover, the impact of pre-slaughter conditions (eg crate stocking density) may depend on broiler fitness. We aimed to evaluate a fitness-assessment method and test physiological responses to the pre-slaughter phase with different stocking densities. Broilers (41 days; […]

An automated positioning system for monitoring chickens’ location: Effects of wearing a backpack on behaviour, leg health and production

Automated tracking of the location of individual chickens is becoming more common in behavioural research. This technology has several advantages including gathering large amounts of data and monitoring of individual animals as opposed to flocks. To ensure the quality of the research the transmitters or tags attached to the bird as part of the automated […]

Evaluation of a dustbathing substrate and straw bales as environmental enrichments in commercial broiler housing

The use of straw bales as an environmental enrichment is common for broiler chickens in enriched housing systems, however relatively little information exists about their effectiveness in improving welfare. There has also been no widespread introduction of a dustbathing material for broilers. The main aim of this trial was to evaluate the use of a […]