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.
|Publication Title||British Poultry Science|
|Author Address||Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia.|
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