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Effects of cage-front design on the feeding behaviour of laying hens

By C. M. Sherwin, D. M. Alvey, J. D. Williamson

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Abstract

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.

Date 1993
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 38
Issue 3/4
Pages 291-299
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address University of Bristol, Dept. Animal Husbandry, Langford House, Bristol, BS18 7DU, UK.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animal nutrition
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Birds
  8. Cages
  9. Chickens
  10. Farms
  11. Feeders
  12. Feeding
  13. Feeding behavior
  14. Fowls
  15. Housing
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Poultry
  18. poultry diseases
  19. Social behavior
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  1. peer-reviewed