Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-cf9d5c678-7bjf6 Total loading time: 0.22 Render date: 2021-08-03T03:46:57.234Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Article contents

Play behaviour, fear responses and activity levels in commercial broiler chickens provided with preferred environmental enrichments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 May 2018

M. Baxter
Affiliation:
Institute for Global Food Security, Queens University Belfast, 18-30 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5BN, Northern Ireland, UK
C. L. Bailie
Affiliation:
Institute for Global Food Security, Queens University Belfast, 18-30 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5BN, Northern Ireland, UK
N. E. O’Connell
Affiliation:
Institute for Global Food Security, Queens University Belfast, 18-30 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5BN, Northern Ireland, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:
Get access

Abstract

There is currently a lack of research investigating the effectiveness of commercial broiler enrichments, and in particular the ability of these additions to create opportunities for positive welfare. One aim of this study was to investigate whether offering broiler chickens enrichments that have recently been found to be preferred leads to increased levels of activity. A second aim was to investigate the emotional effects of provision of these enrichments by assessing levels of fearfulness and play-like activity. Commercially housed broilers were assigned to treatment houses containing either: (1) platform perches, (2) platform perches+peat dust baths, (3) no enrichment (control). Activity levels and play behaviours in unenriched areas of the house were measured in weeks 3, 4 and 5. Levels of active behaviours, such as foraging and locomotion, were determined from video recordings of undisturbed birds in unenriched areas of the house. To stimulate play-like behaviours an observer walked through the birds, displacing them and creating a space. The broilers using the space were then filmed for 5 min and the occurrences of frolicking, sparring and food-running were recorded. Fearfulness of broilers in unenriched areas of the house, and also when using enrichments, was measured using observer avoidance tests in week 5. We found that creating space among the broilers was a successful method of stimulating play (largely sparring and frolicking), with play being observed in 93% of videos, however the presence of enrichments did not have an effect on the level of play recorded (P>0.05). There was also no treatment effect on activity levels of broilers in unenriched areas (P>0.05), however levels of overall activity decreased as broilers aged. Compared with the control, flight distances in unenriched areas were significantly lower in the perches+dust bath treatment (P=0.026), and were numerically lower in the perches treatment. This suggests a reduction in fearfulness with increased environmental complexity, and thus possible welfare benefits. It is suggested that further research should investigate whether increasing the level of provision of these enrichments leads to more marked improvements in welfare.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Animal Consortium 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Bailie, CL and O’Connell, NE 2014. The effect of level of straw bale provision on the behaviour and leg health of commercial broiler chickens. Animal 8, 17151721.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bailie, CL and O’Connell, NE 2015. The influence of providing perches and string on activity levels, fearfulness and leg health in commercial broiler chickens. Animal 9, 660668.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bailie, CL, Baxter, M and O’Connell, NE 2018. Exploring perching provision options for commercial broiler chickens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 200, 114122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baxter, M, Bailie, CL and O’Connell, NE 2017. An evaluation of potential dustbathing substrates for commercial broiler chickens. Animal, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731117003408, Published online 22 December 2017.Google Scholar
Bekoff, M 1984. Social play behavior. Bioscience 34, 228233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bessei, W 2006. Welfare of broilers: a review. World’s Poultry Science Journal 62, 455466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burghardt, GM 2005. The genesis of animal play: testing the limits. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cloutier, S, Newberry, RC and Honda, K 2004. Comparison of social ranks based on worm-running and aggressive behaviour in young domestic fowl. Behavioural Processes 65, 7986.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dawson, JS 1962. Behavior patterns of chickens from hatching to 10 weeks of age. Master’s thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Retrieved on 16 January 2018 from https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/42826/LD5655.V855_1962.D389.pdf?sequence=1.Google Scholar
Dawson, JS and Siegel, PB 1967. Behavior patterns of chickens to ten weeks of age. Poultry Science 46, 615622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diamond, J and Bond, AB 2003. A comparative analysis of social play in birds. Behaviour 140, 10911115.Google Scholar
Douglas, C, Bateson, M, Walsh, C, Bédué, A and Edwards, SA 2012. Environmental enrichment induces optimistic cognitive biases in pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 139, 6573.Google Scholar
Duncan, IJH and Filshie, JH 1980. The use of radio telemetry devices to measure temperature and heart rate in domestic fowl. In A handbook on biotelemetry and radio tracking (ed. CJ Mer and D Macdonald), pp. 579588. Pergmon Press, Oxford, UK.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duncan, IJ 1998. Behavior and behavioral needs. Poultry Science 77, 17661772.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Girard, TE, Zuidhof, MJ and Bench, CJ 2017. Aggression and social rank fluctuations in precision-fed and skip-a-day-fed broiler breeder pullets. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 187, 3844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graml, C, Waiblinger, S and Niebuhr, K 2008. Validation of tests for on-farm assessment of the hen–human relationship in non-cage systems. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 111, 301310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guhl, AM 1958. The development of social organisation in the domestic chick. Animal Behaviour 6, 92111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Held, SD and Špinka, M 2011. Animal play and animal welfare. Animal Behaviour 81, 891899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hughes, BO and Wood-Gush, DGM 1977. Agonistic behaviour in domestic hens: the influence of housing method and group size. Animal Behaviour 25, 10561062.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jones, RB 1996. Fear and adaptability in poultry: insights, implications and imperatives. World’s Poultry Science Journal 52, 131174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keeling, LJ and Zimmerman, P 2009. Positive emotions in poultry: Play behaviour. Welfare Quality Report 9, 107111.Google Scholar
Kells, A, Dawkins, MS and Borja, MC 2001. The effect of a ‘freedom food’ enrichment on the behaviour of broilers on commercial farms. Animal Welfare 10, 347356.Google Scholar
Kruijt, JP 1964. Ontogeny of social behaviour in Burmese red junglefowl (Gallus gallus spadiceus) Bonnaterre. Behaviour 12 (suppl), 1201.Google Scholar
Mench, JA 1988. The development of aggressive behavior in male broiler chicks: a comparison with laying-type males and the effects of feed restriction. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 21, 233242.Google Scholar
Newberry, RC, Estevez, I and Keeling, LJ 2001. Group size and perching behaviour in young domestic fowl. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 73, 117129.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Petherick, JC and Duncan, IJH 1989. Behaviour of young domestic fowl directed towards different substrates. British Poultry Science 30, 229238.Google Scholar
Pettit-Riley, R, Estevez, I and Russek-Cohen, E 2002. Effects of crowding and access to perches on aggressive behaviour in broilers. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79, 1125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reed, HJ, Wilkins, LJ, Austin, SD and Gregory, NG 1993. The effect of environmental enrichment during rearing on fear reactions and depopulation trauma in adult caged hens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 36, 3946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rogers, LJ and Astiningsih, K 1991. Social hierarchies in very young chicks. British Poultry Science 32, 4756.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Špinka, M, Newberry, RC and Bekoff, M 2001. Mammalian play: training for the unexpected. The Quarterly Review of Biology 76, 141168.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vasdal, G, Moe, RO, de Jong, IC and Granquist, EG 2018. The relationship between measures of fear of humans and lameness in broiler chicken flocks. Animal 12, 334339.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ventura, BA, Siewerdt, F and Estevez, I 2010. Effects of barrier perches and density on broiler leg health, fear, and performance. Poultry Science 89, 15741583.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ventura, BA, Siewerdt, F and Estevez, I 2012. Access to barrier perches improves behavior repertoire in broilers. PLoS One 7, e29826.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vestergaard, KS, Skadhauge, E and Lawson, LG 1997. The stress of not being able to perform dustbathing in laying hens. Physiology and Behavior 62, 413419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weeks, CA, Danbury, TD, Davies, HC, Hunt, P and Kestin, SC 2000. The behaviour of broiler chickens and its modification by lameness. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 67, 111125.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Play behaviour, fear responses and activity levels in commercial broiler chickens provided with preferred environmental enrichments
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Play behaviour, fear responses and activity levels in commercial broiler chickens provided with preferred environmental enrichments
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Play behaviour, fear responses and activity levels in commercial broiler chickens provided with preferred environmental enrichments
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *