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Research unit
FSVO
Project number
2.13.10
Project title
Arrangement of perches and feed troughs in aviaries for laying hens and housing systems for broiler breeders

Texts for this project

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Key words
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Short description
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Project aims
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Publications / Results
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CategoryText
Key words
(German)
Sitzstangen, Volierenhaltungen, Legehennen, Masttiereltern, Verhalten, Gesundheit, Tierschutz
Key words
(English)
Perches, aviary systems, laying hen, broiler breeder, behavior, health, animal welfare
Short description
(German)
Dieses Projekt bezieht sich auf die Anforderungen des Bewilligungsverfahrens nach Art. 7 TSchG, 2006 und Art. 81 und 82 TSchV, 2008 für serienmässig hergestellte Aufstallungssysteme und Stalleinrichtungen bei Legehennen (Projekt A) und Mastelterntieren (Projekt B). Es fokussiert auf die in Art. 66 TSchV vorgeschriebenen erhöhten Sitzgelegenheiten und deren mögliche Folgen für das Wohlergehen von Legehennen und Mastelterntieren. Erhöhte Sitzgelegenheiten sollen als Ruhe- und Rückzugsorte vor allem während der Nacht dienen. Viele heutige Volierensysteme für Legehennen bieten erhöhte Sitzstangen aber auch in Form von Sitzstangen-Fütterungsebenen an. Diese sollen als Massnahme zur Freihaltung der Gitterflächen von störenden Strukturen dienen und dadurch die Zirkulation auf den Gitterflächen verbessern, die Flächen von fressenden Tieren entlasten und die Häufigkeit von Auseinandersetzungen während des Fressens durch Aufreihung der Tiere auf Sitzstangen verringern. Diese Sitzstangen-Fütterungsebenen werden in der Schweiz im Gegensatz zur EU bei der Berechnung der maximal möglichen Tierzahl mitberücksichtigt. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen dazu gibt es bisher jedoch kaum. Mastelterntiere werden in der Schweiz und in der EU ohne Sitzstangen gehalten. Die derzeitige Haltung von Mastelterntiere verstösst somit gegen Art. 66 TSchV. Ziel des vorliegenden Projekts ist es, einerseits (Projekt A) die Tiergerechtheit des Fressens auf Sitzstangen stehend mit dem Fressen auf Gitterflächen stehend zu vergleichen und dabei die erforderliche Futtertroglänge zu ermitteln. Andererseits (Projekt B) soll untersucht werden, welche Sitzstangen auf welchen Höhen von Mastelterntieren während der Aufzucht und Produktionsphase benützt werden und welche Auswirkungen Sitzstangen auf das Verhalten, die Gesundheit und die Produktion haben.
Short description
(English)
This project is based on the Swiss legal requirements for serially produced housing systems and housing equipment for laying hens (project A) and broiler breeders (project B) according to Art. 7 TSchG, 2006 and Art. 81 and 82 TSchV, 2008, with a focus on aerial perches required by Art. 66, Abs. 3, Bst.c TSchV, and their effects on the welfare of laying hens and broiler breeders. Aerial perches are supposed to serve as resting and hiding places especially at night. However, many modern aviaries for laying hens contain tiers made of perches and feed troughs. They are aimed to free the wire mesh platforms from obstructing structures and birds to facilitate the birds’ movements, and to reduce the frequency of agonistic interactions during feeding by lining the birds up on perches while feeding. In Switzerland, in contrast to the EU, tiers of perches and feed troughs count as additional space for the calculation of the maximum number of hens, but scientific evidence to substantiate this is critically lacking. Broiler breeders are actually kept without perches in Switzerland and the EU. The present housing of broiler breeders violates Art. 66 TSchV. The following project aims on the one hand (Project A) to compare the provision of elevated “perch-feed trough tiers” vs. platforms as access to feed troughs regarding animal welfare and to assess the required feed trough length. On the other hand (Project B), it aims to investigate what kind of perches, and at which heights, would be used by broiler breeders during rearing and production, and which consequences the provision of perches would have on behavior, health, and production parameters.
Project aims
(English)

In the course of three years, this study involving one Postdoc and one PhD student aims to address the following objectives:

Project A

(1)      To test the hypothesis that feeding from perches influences interactions between hens during feeding and on wire mesh platforms by reducing the density of hens on the platforms and to examine whether the incidence of keel bone deformations is increased when hens are feeding from perches.

(2)      To examine whether the provision of 10 cm vs. 8 cm of feed trough per hen affects feeding behavior and agonistic interactions during feeding.

(3)      To assess how much space at the feed trough laying hens prefer, and how much they work for additional space at the feed trough.

Project B

(1)      To assess how Swiss broiler breeders are currently housed during rearing and production, and where they rest both during day and night

(2)      To investigate which kind of perches, and at which heights, broiler breeders use both during rearing and as adults, and what the required perch length is per broiler breeder.

(3)      To examine how housing systems with perches affect the health, behavior, and production of broiler breeders compared with a system without perches.

Publications / Results
(German)
Aviagen, 2013. Management Handbook: Parentstock Ross. Aviagen.
Bilcik, B., Estevez, I., 2005. Impact of male–male competition and morphological traitson mating strategies and reproductive success in broiler breeders. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 92, 307–323.
Blokhuis, H.J., 1984. Rest in poultry. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 12, 289–303.
Brendler, C., Kipper, S., Schrader, L., 2014. Vigilance and roosting behaviour of layinghens on different perch heights. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 157, 93–99.
Candelotto, L., 2015. Floor Egg Rates In Different Housing Systems Of Two BroilerBreeder Strains (Ross 308 and Sasso) and Possible Measures to Reduce Floor eggs. BSc, Bern, Switzerland.
Chappell, M.A., Zuk, M., Johnsen, T.S., Kwan, T.H., 1997. Mate choice and aerobiccapacity in red junglefowl. Behaviour 134, 511–529.
Decuypere, E., Bruggeman, V., Everaert, N., Li, Y., Boonen, R., Tavernier, Jde,
Janssens, S., Buys, N., 2010. The broiler breeder paradox: ethical, genetic andphysiological perspectives, and suggestions for solutions. Br. Poult. Sci. 51, 569–579.
Dixon, L.M., Sandilands, V., Bateson, M., Brocklehurst, S., Tolkamp, B.J., D’Eath, R.B.,2013. Conditioned Place Preference or Aversion as animal welfare assessment tools: limitations in their application. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 148, 164–176.
Dixon, L.M., Brocklehurst, S., Sandilands, V., Bateson, M., Tolkamp, B.J., D’Eath, R.B.,2014. Measuring motivation for appetitive behaviour: food-restricted broiler breeder chickens cross a water barrier to forage in an area of wood shavings without food.
PLoS One 9, e102322.
Duncan, I.J.H., Hocking, P.M., Seawright, E., 1990. Sexual behaviour and fertility inbroiler breeder domestic fowl. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 26, 201–213.
EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW), 2010. Scientific opinion on welfareaspects of the management and housing of the grand-parent and parent stocks raisedand kept for breeding purposes. EFSA J. 8, 1667.
Engelmann, C., 1984. In: Neumann-Neudamm, J. (Ed.), Leben und Verhalten unseresHausgeflügels, 1st ed. Radebeul, Germany.
Fiks-van Niekerk, T., Jong, I.Cde, 2007. Mutilations in poultry in European poultryproduction systems. Lohmann Information 42, 35–46.
Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Toscano, M.J., Würbel, H., 2017. Perch use by broiler breedersand its implication on health and production. Poult. Sci. 96, 3539–3549.
Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Toscano, M.J., Würbel, H., 2018. Use of aerial perches andperches on aviary tiers by broiler breeders. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 203, 24–33.
Jones, E.K.M., Prescott, N.B., 2000. Visual cues used in the choice of mate by fowl andtheir potential importance for the breeder industry. Worlds Poult. Sci. J. 56,
127–138.
Jong, I.Cde, Gu´emen´e, D., 2011. Major welfare issues in broiler breeders. Worlds Poult.
Sci. J. 67, 73–82.
Jong, I.Cde, Wolthuis-Fillerup, M., van Emous, R.A., 2009. Development of sexual
behaviour in commercially-housed broiler breeders after mixing. Br. Poult. Sci. 50,
151–160.
Kruijt, J.P., 1964. Ontogeny of social behaviour in burmese red junglefowl (Gallus gallus
spadiceus). Behav. Suppl. 1–201. No. 12.
Leone, E.H., Est´evez, I., 2008. Economic and welfare benefits of environmental
enrichment for broiler breeders. Poult. Sci. 87, 14–21.
Martin, P., Bateson, P., 1993. Measuring Behaviour, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, p. 222.
McGary, S., Estevez, I., Russek-Cohen, E., 2003. Reproductive and aggressive behavior in
male broiler breeders with varying fertility levels. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 82, 29–44.
Mench, J.A., 1993. Problems associated with broiler breeder management. Proceedings
of the Fourth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare. 4th European Symposium on
Poultry Welfare, Edinburgh. 18. - 21. September 1993. Universities Federation for
Animal Welfare, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AN,
UK, Herts, Great Britain, pp. 195–207.
Mench, J.A., 2002. Broiler breeders: feed restriction and welfare. Worlds Poult. Sci. J. 58,
23–29.
Millman, S.T., Duncan, I.J.H., 2000a. Do female broiler breeder fowl display a preference
for broiler breeder or laying strain males in a Y-maze test? Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.
69, 275–290.
Millman, S.T., Duncan, I.J.H., 2000b. Effect of male-to-male aggressiveness and feedrestriction
during rearing on sexual behaviour and aggressiveness towards females
by male domestic fowl. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 70, 63–82.
Millman, S.T., Duncan, I.J.H., 2000c. Strain differences in aggressiveness of male
domestic fowl in response to a male model. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 66, 217–233.
Millman, S.T., Duncan, I.J., Widowski, T.M., 2000. Male broiler breeder fowl display
high levels of aggression toward females. Poult. Sci. 79, 1233–1241.
Od´en, K., Keeling, L.J., Algers, B., 2002. Behaviour of laying hens in two types of aviary
systems on 25 commercial farms in Sweden. Br. Poult. Sci. 43, 169–181.
Olsson, I.A., Keeling, L.J., 2000. Night-time roosting in laying hens and the effect of
thwarting access to perches. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 68, 243–256.
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enrichment for broiler breeders: an undeveloped field. Front. Vet. Sci. 4, 86.
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Publications / Results
(English)

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Oester, H. (2014) Do broiler breeders prefer elevated sleeping sites? Proceedings of the 48th Congress of the ISAE, 289.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Fröhlich, E.K.F.; Toscano, M.J.; Würbel, H. (2014) Die Benützung von erhöhten Sitzstangen und Volierenetagen bei Masteltern. Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemässen Tierhaltung KTBL, 127-135.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Toscano, M. J.; Würbel, H. (2016) Perching behavior in broiler breeders. Proceedings of the 50th Congress of the ISAE, 282.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Toscano, M. J.; Würbel, H. (2016) Die Nutzung erhöhter Sitzstangen bei Masteltern II. Einfluss des Platzangebots. Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemässen Tierhaltung KTBL, in press.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J. Broiler breeders kept with perches or with aviary tiers: Production (to be submitted to Poultry Science in Nov. 2016).

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J. Broiler breeders kept with perches or with aviary tiers: Behaviour (to be submitted to Applied Animal Behaviour Science in Jan. 2017).

Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G.; Jordan, A.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J. Mating behaviour of two broiler breeder hybrids in different housing systems (to be submitted to Applied Animal Behaviour Science in March 2017).

Širovnik J.; Toscano, M.J.;  Würbel, H. (2016) Feeder space relates to aggression, jostling, and feeder sharing in laying hens. Proceedings of the 50th Congress of the ISAE, 221.

Širovnik J.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J.  (2016) The effects of feeder space on behaviour and production of laying hens in an aviary system. Aktuelle Arbeiten zur artgemässen Tierhaltung KTBL, in press.

Širovnik J.; Völkl, B.; Keeling, L.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J. Determining minimal feeder space for hens based on Ideal Free Distribution (to be submitted to Nature Methods in Dec. 2016).

Širovnik J.; Gebhardt-Henrich S.S.; Stratmann A.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J. Positive relationship between feeder space and behaviour of laying hens in an aviary system (to be submitted to Applied Animal Behavior Science in Nov. 2016).

Širovnik J.; Würbel, H.; Toscano, M.J.  Behaviour and production data of laying hens are influenced by the incorporation of perches into the feeder on laying hens (to be submitted to Poultry Science in Jan. 2017).
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