The design of an apparatus which allows hens to work for feeder space or for cage size is described. Using this apparatus, it was shown that groups of 4 hens will only rarely work to obtain more than the 40-cm length of feed trough which is usually provided in Europe for a group of 4 medium hybrid hens in a deep battery cage. This implies that there is no requirement for a larger feeder. Given the opportunity, the hens chose to spend up to half of the day in a cage larger than their usual battery cage, but this effect was highly variable both between groups and from day to day. A more detailed study of which birds in a group work, and of what the birds do in the enlarged cage, is needed before firm conclusions about the cage-size requirements of laying hens can be made.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||INRA Sta. Recherches Avicoles, Nouzilly, F-37380 Monnaie, France.|
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