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Behavioural time-budgets and beak related behaviour in floor-housed turkeys

By B. O. Hughes, P. N. Grigor

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Abstract

The behavioural time budget of 140 turkey poults housed on litter in groups of 10-11 in small pens was recorded by individual scan sampling from 1-day-old to 12-weeks-old. Over this period some behaviour (sitting/sleeping) remained relatively constant, some (feeding) declined and remained low, some (standing/walking, drinking) declined and rose again, while some (environmental pecking, bird pecking, preening) rose and then declined. By 12 weeks the incidence of some behaviours appeared to have stabilized, though others were still changing. A substantial proportion of activity could be classed as beak-related behaviour. Feather pecking and cannibalism are major behavioural and welfare problems in intensively-housed turkeys; it is postulated that one reason for this may be because a major proportion of their beak-related behaviour is strongly directed towards plumage, either their own or that of other birds, rather than towards food or environmental stimuli. One solution may be to seek ways of increasing the proportion of time they spend feeding.

Date 1996
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 189-198
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Roslin Institute (Edinburgh), Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PS, UK.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Beak
  6. Birds
  7. Cannibalism
  8. Feathers
  9. Feeding behavior
  10. Floors
  11. pecking
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Poultry
  14. time
  15. turkeys
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed