The value of environmental resources to domestic hens: a comparison of the work-rate for food and for nests as a function of time

Twelve Isa Brown hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) were trained to open a locked door for access to a pen containing an enclosed nest box (‘nest test’) and to return to a home pen containing food, water, litter and a perch (‘home test’). The door was connected to a computer-controlled load cell, which recorded work exerted […]

Female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) demonstrate same-sex partner preferences

Female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are territorial during warm months but demonstrate social tolerance under low temperatures. In spring, females nest together and some pairs participate in communal nursing and rearing of young. Because communal nursing involves significant cooperation, selective pair-bonds may develop between 2 nestmates. Using a choice apparatus, the authors determined that (a) […]

Effect of heterogeneity of nest boxes on occurrence of gregarious nesting in laying hens

Gregarious nesting, where hens select already occupied nest boxes even when other nest boxes are unoccupied, is an unwanted behaviour in laying hens that may reduce animal welfare and pose a financial cost to the producer. It has been suggested that gregarious nesting is caused by the difficulties experienced by hens in distinguishing between nest […]

Evidence of competition for nest sites by laying hens in large furnished cages

Furnished cages are designed to accommodate behaviour considered important to laying hens, particularly nesting behaviour. Few researchers have studied the degree of competition for nest sites or the extent to which the amount of nest space affects nesting behaviour in large furnished cages. We explored the effect of floor (low 520 cm2/bird, high 750 cm2/bird)/nest […]

Rearing environment and laying location affect pre-laying behaviour in enriched cages

The number of eggs laid in a nest is often correlated with nest acceptance and therefore hen welfare. However, evaluating pre-laying behaviour may more accurately reflect welfare independent of egg location. Our objective was to compare the effect of rearing environment and laying location on the pre-laying behaviour of hens in furnished cages (FC). We […]