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Feed-restricted broiler breeders: state-dependent learning as a novel welfare assessment tool to evaluate their hunger state?

By L. A. Buckley, V. Sandilands, P. M. Hocking, B. J. Tolkamp, R. B. D'Eath

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Abstract

This paper reports three experiments that aimed to validate the use of state-dependent learning (SDL) as a novel welfare assessment tool to evaluate the hunger state of feed-restricted broiler breeders. In each experiment, birds alternated every 2 days between two food rations: quantitative feed restriction (QFR) and ad libitum access to the same feed (AL). Each food ration was paired with a different, end of day, coloured food reward. It was predicted that the reward associated with hunger (QFR FR) would be preferred to the food reward associated with AL (AL FR) in a subsequent choice test. The SDL preference testing took place after 4 and 8 days of training. Each bird was tested twice (once per food ration fed on the test day). In experiment 1 (pilot, n=4), birds preferred the QFR-associated reward during both tests mean (S.E.M.) preference: QFR FR: 35.0 (3.5) g; AL FR: 2 (1.3) g, but differential food reward intake between hunger states during training confounded the results. In experiment two ( n=12) a smaller food reward was used during training to try and equalise intake. The birds preferred the QFR FR in test 1 only (least significant difference (L.S.D.)=15.08, P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 165
Pages 124-132
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address SRUC, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK.lbuckley@harper-adams.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Birds
  6. Breeding
  7. Broilers
  8. Diets
  9. Feeding
  10. Feed intake
  11. Feeds
  12. Fowls
  13. Hunger
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. Poultry
  16. training
  17. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed