Stress response, peripheral serotonin and natural antibodies in feather pecking genotypes and phenotypes and their relation with coping style

Feather pecking (FP), a serious welfare and economic issue in the egg production industry, has been related to coping style. Proactive and reactive coping styles differ in, among others, the stress response, serotonergic activity and immune activity. Yet, it is unknown whether genetic lines divergently selected on FP (i.e. FP genotypes) or individuals differing in […]

The effect of quality and availability of foraging materials on feather pecking in laying hen chicks

Feather pecking resulting in feather damage, injuries and mortality causes severe welfare problems in laying hens. In the present study, we tested whether there is an inverse relationship between feather pecking and foraging behaviour (exploratory and manipulative behaviour away from the feeder). Forty-eight groups of 30 or 31 chicks, Gallus gallus domesticus, were reared in […]

Foraging opportunity and increased physical complexity both prevent and reduce psychogenic feather picking by young Amazon parrots

Although many authors have suggested that the quality of the cage environment contributes to the development and performance of psychogenic feather picking by parrots, there is little scientific evidence for this relationship. In chickens, there is an established relationship between absence of foraging opportunity and the performance of a similar behavior, feather pecking. Thus, we […]

Feather pecking in domestic chicks: its relation to dustbathing and foraging

Feather pecking is a serious problem in poultry housing, as it may lead to feather damage, injuries and even mortality. We tested predictions of the two prevalent hypotheses claiming that feather pecking is related to dustbathing and foraging, respectively. Forty-two groups of 30 laying hen chicks,Gallus gallus domesticuswere reared in pens with a slatted floor. […]

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 […]

Feather damaging behaviour in parrots: A review with consideration of comparative aspects

Feather damaging behaviour (also referred to as feather picking or feather plucking) is a behavioural disorder that is frequently encountered in captive parrots. This disorder has many characteristics that are similar to trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder in humans. Unfortunately, to date much of the information regarding the aetiology and treatment in both syndromes is […]

The effect of foraging material and perch height on feather pecking and feather damage in laying hens

Feather pecking in laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) may not only cause welfare problems, but also result in economic losses due to feather damage and increased mortality. The present study aimed at testing whether foraging material and perch height have significant effects on feather pecking and feather damage. From week 19 to week 30 after […]

Relationship between feather pecking and ground pecking in laying hens and the effect of group size

The aim of this experiment was to study the relationship between feather pecking and ground pecking in laying hens and the effect of group size on feather pecking behaviour. Hisex White hens were kept in floor pens in group sizes of 15, 30, 60 and 120 birds, each with four replicates. Behavioural observations were performed […]

The prevalence of feather pecking and development in commercial flocks of laying hens

Feather pecking and cannibalism remain serious problems when laying hens are intensely farmed, but there is not much data on the true prevalence of feather pecking under commercial conditions. A recent epidemiological survey estimated it to be 37.5%. To verify this value we collected data on the occurrence of feather pecking by means of direct […]

Genetic, environmental, and neighbor effects on the severity of stereotypies and feather picking in Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica): An epidemiological study

Stereotypies and psychogenic feather picking represent two distinct forms of abnormal behavior in parrots, with implications for welfare and owner relinquishment. While both behaviors are common in captive parrots, relatively little is known about the factors that may predispose a parrot to their development. To assess the effects of potential social, environmental, and genetic factors, […]