The effect of an enriched laying environment on welfare, performance, and egg quality parameters of laying hens kept in a cage system
Damian Konkol , Ewa Popiela , Mariusz Korczyński
AbstractThe aim of this study was to evaluate the welfare and performance of laying hens kept in a furnished cage system equipped with additional feeders. A total of 72 Lohmann Brown hens were randomly assigned to 4 experimental groups. Each group consisted of 6 cages housing 3 birds per cage (18 birds per group). Group I was a control group without an extra feeder in the cages. Experimental groups GII, GIII, and GIV contained one, 2, and 3 additional feeders in the cages, respectively. The assessment of bird welfare was based on production, physiological and behavioral parameters, as well as on the basis of external appearance. The experiment lasted 12 wk. The obtained results suggest that enriching laying hens’ cages with additional feeders improved the welfare of the hens. Enrichment of cages significantly reduced the number of feather pecking and aggressive behaviors in the GII and GIV groups (P < 0.01) and the GIII group (P < 0.05). Breast plumage was significantly (P < 0.05) better in the GII group compared with that in the control group. The control group also had the worst general plumage (P < 0.01). The GII and GIV groups were also characterized by significantly (P < 0.05) lower blood corticosterone concentrations compared with the control group. No negative changes in egg production and quality parameters were observed in the experimental groups. No negative changes in egg production and quality parameters were observed in the experimental groups. Only eggs from the GIV group had significantly (P < 0.05) lower breaking strength than those from the control and GII group. The results suggest that the best solution is to place 1 additional feeder in furnished laying hens’ cages.
|Journal series||Poultry Science, ISSN 0032-5791, e-ISSN 1525-3171, (N/A 140 pkt)|
|Publication size in sheets||0.5|
|Keywords in English||hen, welfare, behavior, corticosterone|
|License||Journal (articles only); published final; ; with publication|
|Score||= 140.0, 18-05-2021, ArticleFromJournal|
|Publication indicators||= 0; = 0; : 2017 = 1.38; : 2019 = 2.659 (2) - 2019=3.103 (5)|
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