The effects on feeding behaviour of 4 cage-front designs: vertical bars, horizontal bars, feed trough raised 33 cm, and feed trough enclosed within the cage, were examined. Cage-front design had no significant effect on mean feeding-bout duration (range of 69-85 seconds) or proportion of time spent feeding (46.2-49.8%), but significantly influenced the number of feeding-bouts (0.19-0.30/min) and the number of birds which fed simultaneously. In the cages with vertical bars the hens most frequently fed as singles; in the cages with a raised trough they fed most frequently as pairs, whereas in cages with horizontal bars the hens most frequently fed as triplets. Only infrequently were all 4 hens recorded feeding simultaneously which, the authors suggest, has important implications for welfare since hens usually show a strong tendency to feed synchronously.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||University of Bristol, Dept. Animal Husbandry, Langford House, Bristol, BS18 7DU, UK.|
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