Effect of simple and low-cost enrichment items on behavioral, clinical, and productive variables of caged laying hens

Housing layers in battery cages is a practice still used by many countries but it has been criticized because of its influence on behavioral repertoire of birds. We investigated whether simple and affordable enrichment devices alone impact behavior, foot condition and performance of laying hens housed in conventional cages. Hens were divided into plain cages […]

Stress in Broiler Chickens Due to Acute Noise Exposure

Stress effects from acute noise exposure were monitored in a group of ROSS 308 broiler chickens (n = 80), aged 42 days. The experiment simulated slaughterhouse sounds to which the broilers were exposed for 10 min in the test enclosure. Effects of acute noise exposure at two different levels (80 dB and 100 dB) were […]

The effects of land transport on animal welfare

Animal welfare during and as a result of transport can be assessed by using a range of behavioural, physiological, pathological and carcass-quality indicators that are described in this paper. Measures of the extent of any disease, injury or mortality resulting from, or exacerbated by, transport are important because health is an important part of welfare. […]

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 […]

Modification of fear in domestic chicks, Gallus gallus domesticus, via regular handling and early environmental enrichment

Although its adaptive properties are recognized, fear can harm the welfare and performance of intensively housed poultry. Its alleviation in individually caged domestic chicks via the independent or integrated application of regular handling and environmental enrichment regimes was investigated. The test situations incorporated varying degrees of exposure to novel, inanimate stimuli and of human involvement. […]

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 […]

Vocalization of farm animals as a measure of welfare

Emotionally relevant external events, hormone concentrations affecting mood and appetitive behaviour, thirst and hunger are able to stimulate a complex central nervous network that regulates endocrine feedback and behaviour in order to maintain or regain homeostasis. Particular states of mood or emotion may thus be accompanied by specific behaviours, vocalization being one of them. Hence, […]

Why do hens sham dustbathe when they have litter

Hens in cages perform sham dustbathing, that is they go through the behavioural sequence of dustbathing, but on the wire-floor. Such sham dustbathing is found in conventional cages and even in furnished cages which include a dustbath. Consequently, sham dustbathing behaviour cannot be explained only by the absence of litter. Three suggested explanations for sham […]

Exploration of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function as a tool to evaluate animal welfare

Measuring HPA axis activity is the standard approach to the study of stress and welfare in farm animals. Although the reference technique is the use of blood plasma to measure glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol or corticosterone), several alternative methods such as the measurement of corticosteroids in saliva, urine or faeces have been developed to overcome the […]

A critical review of fear tests used on cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry and horses

Fear is arguably the most commonly investigated emotion in domestic animals. In the current review we attempt to establish the level of repeatability and validity found for fear tests used on cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, poultry and horses. We focus the review on the three most common types of fear tests: the arena test […]