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Perch use by laying hens in aviary systems

By Christina Brendler, Lars Schrader

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Abstract

Perching preference in laying hens is well analysed in several experimental studies. However, information about perch use on farm is scarce. The present study highlights perching preferences at daytime and night-time in 19 laying hen flocks on 18 farms with symmetric (n=9) and asymmetric (n=10) aviary systems. Perch use was higher during night than daytime and perches on high tiers were preferred compared to perches on low tiers. Within the low tier hens preferred the higher perches compared to lowest perches. These findings indicate that in order to fulfil the behavioural priorities of laying hens for perching not only the perch length but also the height of perches within the house should be considered.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 182
Pages 9-14
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2016.06.002
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Tags
  1. Aviaries
  2. Farms
  3. perches
  4. welfare