Is the rotarod test an objective alternative to the gait score for evaluating walking ability in chickens?

Walking ability is related to motor co-ordination which, in rodents, can be assessed by an established test in pharmacological studies — the rotarod test. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a modified rotarod test for chickens and its relation to the often-used gait score system. At the end of their rearing period, we […]

A novel flexible method to split feeding behaviour into bouts

Before meal patterns can be analysed properly, a biologically relevant meal criterion must be determined in order to group short-term feeding behaviour into meals. Existing methodologies are based on modelling of the frequency distributions of intervals between feeding events but these methods cannot be used if the proper distributions cannot be clearly identified. For such […]

The Effect of Stocking Density on the Welfare and Behaviour of Broiler Chickens Reared Commercially

An experiment was conducted to compare the effect of two levels of house stocking density (34kg m-2 and 40kg m-2) on broiler welfare and behaviour. The trial monitored 121 900 birds housed in eight flocks under commercial conditions and used a range of behavioural and productivity measures to assess welfare. At the higher stocking density: […]

Welfare of Male and Female Broiler Chickens in Relation to Stocking Density, As Indicated by Performance, Health and Behaviour

The purpose of this experiment was to provide information relevant to the current debate concerning the optimisation of terminal stocking density for commercial broiler production. In a modern, controlled-environment house with 24 floor pens (each 11.4 m2), 4020 day-old broilers (Ross 308) were allocated to three terminal (42 days) stocking densities (28, 34 and 40 […]

Licensing poultry CO2 gas-stunning systems with regard to animal welfare: investigations under practical conditions

Carbon dioxide stunning of broilers is not permitted in Germany. However, the competent authority can license a system for testing, during which scientific evaluation with regard to animal welfare is required. Between 2004 and 2011 several aspects of three systems have been evaluated in Germany and Italy under practical conditions including: (i) supply to the […]

Measuring foot-pad lesions in commercial broiler houses. Some aspects of methodology

For monitoring purposes there is a need for a protocol to measure foot-pad dermatitis (FPD) on-farm. Therefore, we studied the effect of number of birds sampled, number of locations sampled and sampling location in a broiler house on the accuracy of measurement, in order to construct a protocol that can be applied in practice. Samples […]

Behavioral changes and feathering score in heat stressed broiler chickens fed diets containing different levels of propolis

This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation of green Brazilian propolis on behavioral patterns and feather condition of heat stressed broiler chickens. Five hundred and four (504) male Ross 708 broiler chicks at 15-day old were randomly allotted to six dietary treatments containing 0 (control), 100, 250, 500, 1000 and 3000 […]

Effects of catching and transportation versus pre-slaughter handling at the abattoir on the prevalence of wing fractures in broilers

Fractures occurring in conscious broiler chickens are painful and severely compromise animal welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of pre-slaughter handling procedures on the frequency of wing fractures. Wings were examined for fractures in 11,609 broilers, from 12 different flocks, slaughtered in two abattoirs: one using bi-phasic CO2 stunning (CS); […]

Effects of analgesic intervention on behavioural responses to Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning

Worldwide, more than 50 billion chickens are killed annually for food production so their welfare at slaughter is an important concern. Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) is a novel approach to pre-slaughter stunning of poultry in which birds are rendered unconscious by gradually reducing oxygen tension in the atmosphere to achieve a progressive anoxia (hypobaric […]

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND WELL-BEING SYMPOSIUM: Poultry welfare assessments: Current use and limitations

Recent attention has been given to developing welfare assessment tools for research purposes and for use directly on poultry farms. Historically, most of these tools have relied on resource-and management-based measures, but it is unclear how well they correlate with outcomes indicative of positive animal welfare. The subjective nature of many of these tools also […]