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Human factors affecting the behaviour and productivity of commercial broiler chickens

By P. H. Cransberg, P. H. Hemsworth, G. J. Coleman

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between stockperson attitude and behaviour, bird behaviour and productivity in the chicken meat industry. The study was carried out during April to September on 24 commercial farms in Southern Victoria, Australia. Each farm had a capacity of 25 000 to 95 000 birds. No relationship between stockperson attitude and behaviour was observed, which is in contrast to studies in the pig and dairy industries. Evidence is provided for the existence of sequential relationships between stockperson behaviour, bird fear levels and productivity in the broiler farms examined. The mechanism(s) responsible for the negative relationships between fear levels and production is unclear. It is hypothesised that chronic stress or a series of acute stress responses may be the mechanism through which fear affects productivity. The relationship between human behaviour, bird fear levels and productivity indicates the potential that exists to improve productivity and perhaps welfare of commercial broilers by reducing fear levels in broiler chickens.

Date 2000
Publication Title British Poultry Science
Volume 41
Issue 3
Pages 272-279
ISBN/ISSN 0007-1668
Language English
Author Address Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Attitudes
  6. Birds
  7. Chickens
  8. Farms
  9. Fear
  10. Fowls
  11. Human behavior
  12. Mammals
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Poultry
  15. Primates
  16. productivity
  17. stockpersons
  18. Stress
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  1. peer-reviewed