Hens with benefits: Can environmental enrichment make chickens more resilient to stress?

Resilience, the degree to which individuals are physiologically and behaviourally impacted by stressors, can be enhanced by positive experiences (e.g. positive moods in human, environmental enrichment in rodents). Such effects are important for human health, but could also have important animal welfare implications in terms of farm, laboratory and zoo animals’ abilities to cope with […]

Is the embryo culture system useful for collecting primordial germ cells from endangered avian embryos?

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.10030.abs The development of artificial means to conserve endangered avian species appears to be urgently needed. Procedures developed in recent years for experimental embryology with primordial germ cells (PGCs) may help prevent the extinction of endangered species. To this end, we examined the embryo culture system (ECS) for collection of PGCs using chick embryos […]

Battery hens name their price: Consumer demand theory and the measurement of ethological `needs’

The concept of an ‘ethological need’ has assumed a prominent place in recent discussions of animal welfare, although the term itself is surrounded by confusion. It is here argued that some of this confusion might be overcome by applying consumer demand theory to some of the problems of animal welfare. As an example, the postulated […]

Behavioural responses of laying hens following a period of spatial restriction

Six laying hens were housed singly in small cages (area 847 cm2) and six were housed singly in large cages (2310 cm2) for a period of 4 weeks. Many significant differences were found between the behaviour of the birds in the two groups. In addition, the frequency of performance of some activities, e.g. wing stretching […]

Effects of long-term deprivation of sand on dustbathing behaviour in laying hens

During 21 weeks of sand deprivation, intact and beak-trimmed laying hens, Gallus gallus domesticus, dustbathed on a barren floor (sham-dustbathing). The amount of dustbathing increased during the experiment to the same level (in the intact hens) as in non-deprived control hens, or to a higher level (in the beak-trimmed hens). During deprivation, the proportion of […]

Working for food under conditions of varying motivation in broilers

Broiler chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, have been selected for rapid weight gain and appear to be continously hungry. If this is so, then energy that broilers invest in obtaining food should be insensitive to their level of feed restriction. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the maximum price (i.e. maximum number of key pecks) broilers […]

Do hens suffer in battery cages? Environmental preferences and welfare

The question `do hens suffer in battery cages?’ is difficult to answer because of the problem of objectively assessing suffering in animals. It is argued that preference tests may be one way of throwing light on this difficult problem. This paper describes some experiments on habitat preference in domestic hens. No preference was observed between […]

Do the stereotypies of pigs, chickens and mink reflect adaptive species differences in the control of foraging?

The food-related stereotypies of some captive species (e.g. mink) are performed most often prior to feeding, while those of others (e.g. pigs and chickens) occur at low levels before feeding and increase after food consumption. It has been suggested that these differences reflect adaptive species differences in how feeding behaviour is controlled. However, this hypothesis […]

The aversion of broiler chickens to concurrent vibrational and thermal stressors

The requirement for assessing the effects of multiple concurrent stressors in improving the welfare of broiler chickens during transport has not been widely recognised. A discrete-choice technique was used to investigate the aversion of broiler chickens to concurrent vibrational and thermal transport stressors. In experiment 1, 12 female broiler chickens, aged 42+/-3 days were studied […]

Pecking at string by individually caged, adult laying hens; color preferences and their stability

Hitherto, relatively few studies have attempted to identify the influential features of devices intended to attract and sustain the interest of captive animals and to enrich their environment. In the first of a series of experiments intended to evaluate the attractive (peck-eliciting) properties of selected classes of stimuli and of variations in their component features, […]