Beak Trimming Effects on Performance, Behavior and Welfare of Chickens: A Review

Beak trimming is a management practice that has long been employed by the poultry industry to reduce the deleterious effects of cannibalism and feather pecking among flockmates of chickens. Most studies of beak trimming have concentrated on the production and economic performance aspects of this practice. Because of the current animal welfare debate, behavioral and […]

Chicken welfare is influenced more by housing conditions than by stocking density

Intensive broiler (meat) chicken production now exceeds 800 million birds each year in the United Kingdom and 2 1010 birds worldwide1, but it attracts accusations of poor welfare2, 3. The European Union is currently adopting standards for broilers aimed at a chief welfare concern—namely, overcrowding—by limiting maximum ‘stocking density’ (bird weight per unit area). It […]

Indicators of physiological stress in broiler chickens during road transportation

Differential leucocyte counts and plasma activities of the muscle enzyme, creatine kinase, have been determined in blood samples obtained from broiler chickens, immediately prior to and following road transportation from farm to processing plant for slaughter. These parameters are proposed as indicators of physiological stress based on previous findings. Heterophil:lymphocyte ratios and plasma creatine kinase […]

An avian embryo culture system for embryogenesis using an artificial vessel: possible conservation benefits in the rescue and management of endangered avian species

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20068.abs The development of artificial means to conserve some endangered avian species seems urgently needed. We devised an eggshell-less embryo culture system for embryogenesis using chicken or quail embryos as a model system. As a result, 41/56 (73%) chicken embryos and 52/62 (83%) quail embryos with their own thick albumen developed as usual for […]

Why in earth? Dustbathing behaviour in jungle and domestic fowl reviewed from a Tinbergian and animal welfare perspective

Dustbathing has been the subject of much research in captive birds. In the present review we bring together the studies of domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus) and jungle fowl (G. gallus) to provide a more complete picture of the behaviour. Dustbathing is discussed from the four aspects suggested by Tinbergen [Tinbergen, N., 1963. On aims […]

‘Freedom from hunger’ and preventing obesity: the animal welfare implications of reducing food quantity or quality

In animals, including humans, free access to high-quality (generally energy-dense) food can result in obesity, leading to physiological and health problems. Consequently, various captive animals, including laboratory and companion animals and certain farm animals, are often kept on a restricted diet. Quantitative restriction of food is associated with signs of hunger such as increases in […]

Can domestic fowl, chicken, show self-control?

An important aspect of cognition is whether animals live exclusively in the present or can anticipate the future. Defined as self-control, the ability to choose a large, remote reinforcer over a small, proximate reinforcer available at the same frequency has been examined in a number of species, often proving difficult to demonstrate. We investigated self-control […]

Effects of domestication on filial motivation and imprinting in chicks: comparison of red junglefowl and White Leghorns

Domestication has been reported to reduce learning ability and to alter social behaviour. We compared the development of filial behaviour of domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, and the ancestral red junglefowl, Gallus gallus. We investigated the tendency of naïve chicks to approach conspicuous stimuli, as a measure of filial motivation, and the development of a […]

Noise-dependent vocal plasticity in domestic fowl

Since acoustic communication is considerably constrained by environmental noise, some animals have evolved adaptations to counteract its masking effects. Humans and New World monkeys increase the duration of brief vocalizations (below a few hundred milliseconds) as the background noise level rises, a behaviour that increases the detection probability of signals in noise by temporal summation. […]

What’s in a peck? Using fixed action pattern morphology to identify the motivational basis of abnormal feather-pecking behaviour

Like many captive animals, hens, Gallus gallus, used for agricultural production perform abnormal behaviours. They are particularly prone to feather pecking, the severest form of which involves the pecking at and removal of feathers, which can cause bleeding and even stimulate cannibalism. The two main hypothesized explanations for feather pecking concern frustrated motivations to forage […]