Broiler breeders are routinely fed restricted during rearing which has a major negative effect on their welfare. They suffer from hunger and frustration from thwarting of feeding. The aim of this experiment was therefore to study if broiler breeder welfare can be improved by changes in the feeding system that can easily be applied in practical broiler breeder husbandry. We investigated the effects of scattered feeding in the litter and/or feeding twice a day on parameters of hunger and frustration in broiler breeders. Scattered feeding reduced the time spent object pecking but has no effect on other indicators of hunger like the compensatory feed intake, the plasma glucose/NEFA ratio and plasma corticosterone concentrations. Broiler breeders fed two meals a day show more walking, which may indicate food searching-related activity or frustration of the feeding motivation. Moreover, compensatory feed intake, the glucose/NEFA ratio and plasma corticosterone concentrations were similar in birds fed either one or two meals a day. It is unclear if the reduced time spent on object pecking, but the large proportion of time spent on foraging activities in scattered fed birds can be interpreted as reduced frustration and thus as an improvement of broiler breeder welfare. We conclude that scattered feeding, feeding twice a day and a combination of these two feeding strategies do not significantly improve broiler breeder welfare during rearing as indicators of hunger have not changed.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR, Division Animal Resources Development, Research Group Animal Welfare, P.O. Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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