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The effects of regular visual contact with human beings on fear, stress, antibody and growth responses in broiler chickens

By I. Zulkifli, J. Gilbert, P. K. Liew, J. Ginsos

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

This study investigated the effects of regular visual contact at various ages on tonic immobility (TI) and heterophil/lymphocyte ratio (HLR) reactions to handling and crating, antibody production, growth performance and feed conversion ratios in commercial broiler chicks. Broiler chicks were exposed to (1) visual contact with an experimenter for 10 min twice daily from 0 to 3 weeks (V0-3), (2) visual contact with an experimenter for 10 min twice daily from 0 to 6 weeks (V0-6), (3) visual contact with an experimenter for 10 min twice daily from 3 to 6 weeks (V3-6) and (4) no visual contact (NV), as control. At 42 days of age, the birds were captured and crated for 10 min. Following, the 10 min crating, the V0-3 and V0-6 birds had shorter TI duration and lower HLR than those of NV. Although the HLR response of V3-6 birds to crating were similar to their V0-3 and V0-6 counterparts, the latter two groups were less fearful, as measured by TI duration. Subjecting birds to V0-3 and V0-6 enhanced antibody response to Newcastle disease vaccine. Regular visual contact had negligible influence on body weight, feed conversion ratios and survivability of birds. Collectively, the results suggest that regular visual contact from 1 to 21 days of age is sufficient to reduce fear and stress reactions to handling and crating and improve antibody response in broiler chickens.

Date 2002
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 79
Issue 2
Pages 103-112
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(02)00135-1
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. zulkifli@agri.upm.edu.my
Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal immunology
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Antibodies
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Birds
  7. Blood
  8. Broilers
  9. Chickens
  10. Domesticated birds
  11. Fear
  12. Feed conversion
  13. Fowls
  14. Growth rates
  15. Immunity
  16. Poultry
  17. stimuli
  18. Stress
  19. Stress response
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed