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  1. Happy Chickens Lay Tastier Eggs: Motivations for Buying Free-range Eggs in Australia

    Contributor(s):: Bray, Heather J., Ankeny, Rachel A.

    Recent public interest in so-called “ethical” food production, and in particular the welfare of intensively housed farm animals, has been linked to an increase in sales of free-range eggs in several countries including Australia. Animal activist groups around the world have campaigned for the...

  2. Farmer attitudes to injurious pecking in laying hens and to potential control strategies

    Contributor(s):: Palczynski, L. J., Buller, H., Lambton, S. L., Weeks, C. A.

    Farmers' recognition of health and welfare problems, and their responses to related intervention programmes, such as those to reduce injurious pecking in hens, directly influence the welfare of animals in their care. Changing those responses can be achieved through a re-positioning of social...

  3. Tree cover and injurious feather-pecking in commercial flocks of free-range laying hens: a follow up

    Contributor(s):: Bright, A., Gill, R., Willings, T. H.

    Injurious feather-pecking in non-cage systems is a serious economic and welfare concern for the egg-producing industry. This study presents results from data of over 1,000 flocks from producers who supplied free-range eggs to McDonald's Restaurants Ltd UK between 2008 and 2013. These producers...

  4. Consumer attitudes to injurious pecking in free-range egg production

    Contributor(s):: Bennett, R. M., Jones, P. J., Nicol, C. J., Tranter, R. B., Weeks, C. A.

    Free-range egg producers face continuing problems from injurious pecking (IP) which has financial consequences for farmers and poor welfare implications for birds. Beak-trimming has been practised for many years to limit the damage caused by IP, but with the UK Government giving notification that...

  5. Dustbathing, pecking and scratching behaviours of laying hens in furnished cages are enhanced by the presence of rubber mats and litter distribution

    Contributor(s):: Guinebretiere, M., Michel, V., Arnould, C.

    Furnished cages for laying hens exist in a wide variety of sizes and designs and should be equipped to allow hens to express some of their behavioural priorities. European Council Directive 1999/74/EC stipulates that litter must be provided for pecking and scratching but the type of litter and...

  6. Mate choice, maternal investment and implications for ostrich welfare in a farming environment

    Contributor(s):: Bonato, M., Cherry, M. I., Cloete, S. W. P.

    At present, the ostrich industry is inefficient, on account of being characterised by inadequate egg production, high embryo mortality, poor chick survival and suboptimal growth rates. However, as ostrich farming commenced only in the mid 19th century in South Africa, farmed ostriches have had a...

  7. Effects of variation in nest curtain design on pre-laying behaviour of domestic hens

    Contributor(s):: Ringgenberg, N., Frohlich, E. K. F., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Toscano, M. J., Wurbel, H., Roth, B. A.

    Laying hens in loose-housing systems select a nest daily in which to lay their eggs among many identical looking nests, they often prefer corner nests. We investigated whether heterogeneity in nest curtain appearance - via colours and symbols - would influence nest selection and result in an even...

  8. Dustbathing behavior: do ectoparasites matter?

    Contributor(s):: Vezzoli, G., Mullens, B. A., Mench, J. A.

    A presumed function of dustbathing behavior is to remove ectoparasites. Providing dustbathing substrates in furnished cages for laying hens might therefore offer an alternative to pesticide use to reduce ectoparasite populations. We investigated the effectiveness of dustbathing substrates for...

  9. Nest choice in laying hens: effects of nest partitions and social status

    Contributor(s):: Ringgenberg, N., Frohlich, E. K. F., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Toscano, M. J., Wurbel, H., Roth, B. A.

    Nest choice in loose-housed laying hens is influenced by nest characteristics, position and social factors. We examined the relative preference of laying hens for two group-nests differing in the presence or absence of a partition in the middle of the nest and whether this was influenced by...

  10. Perseveration in a guessing task by laying hens selected for high or low levels of feather pecking does not support classification of feather pecking as a stereotypy

    Contributor(s):: Kjaer, J. B., Wurbel, H., Schrader, L.

    Feather pecking is a behaviour by which birds damage or destroy the feathers of themselves (self-pecking) or other birds (allo feather pecking), in some cases even plucking out feathers and eating these. The self-pecking is rarely seen in domestic laying hens but is not uncommon in parrots....

  11. Modification of aviary design reduces incidence of falls, collisions and keel bone damage in laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Stratmann, A., Frohlich, E. K. F., Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Wurbel, H., Toscano, M. J.

    Non-cage housing systems for laying hens such as aviaries provide greater freedom to perform species-specific behavior and thus are thought to improve welfare of the birds; however, aviaries are associated with a high prevalence of keel bone damage (fractures and deviations), which is a major...

  12. Acute stress enhances sensitivity to a highly attractive food reward without affecting judgement bias in laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Hernandez, C. E., Hinch, G., Lea, J., Ferguson, D., Lee, C.

    Affective states can be evaluated by assessing shifts in the animal's expectation of a positive and negative outcome in response to ambiguous cues, also known as judgement bias (JB). The aim of this study was to use a JB methodology, using a go/go type of task where animals are required to make...

  13. Plumage damage in free-range laying hens: behavioural characteristics in the rearing period and the effects of environmental enrichment and beak-trimming

    Contributor(s):: Hartcher, K. M., Tran, M. K. T. N., Wilkinson, S. J., Hemsworth, P. H., Thomson, P. C., Cronin, G. M.

    Severe feather-pecking, whereby birds peck at and pull out the feathers of other birds, is one of the greatest welfare concerns and the most prevalent behavioural problem in laying hens. It can be extremely difficult to control, especially in non-cage laying flocks. Despite a multitude of studies...

  14. The relevance of variations in group size and phenotypic appearance on the behaviour and movement patterns of young domestic fowl

    Contributor(s):: Liste, G., Campderrich, I., Beltran Heredia, I. de, Estevez, I.

    Variations in the group size of laying hens might increase the risk of undesired behaviours with important consequences for the birds' health and welfare. However, larger groups housed at constant densities also translate into larger enclosures that may increase space efficiency, therefore...

  15. The risk factors affecting the development of vent pecking and cannibalism in free-range and organic laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Lambton, S. L., Knowles, T. G., Yorke, C., Nicol, C. J.

    Injurious pecking remains one of the biggest animal welfare and economic challenges for free-range egg producers. This prospective epidemiological study investigated the development of vent pecking (VP) and cannibalism on 62 free-range and organic UK farms (119 flocks). Flocks were visited at 25...

  16. The ticking clock: addressing farm animal welfare in emerging countries

    Contributor(s):: Keyserlingk, M. A. G. von, Hotzel, M. J.

    Over the last decade many emerging economies, and in particular Brazil, have established themselves as major players in global food animal production. Within these countries much of the increase in food animal production has been achieved by the adoption of intensive housing systems similar to...

  17. Tales about tails: is the mutilation of animals justifiable in their best interests or in ours?

    Contributor(s):: Edwards, S., Bennett, P., Appleby, M. C., Weary, D. M., Sandoe, P.

    Tail docking, involving surgical or non-surgical removal of a portion of the tail, is one of the most widely carried out and contentious mutilations inflicted by humans on animals. To differing extents, this procedure is carried out on farm livestock, draught animals and companion animals. The...

  18. Killing of spent laying hens using CO 2 in poultry barns

    Contributor(s):: Berg, C., Yngvesson, J., Nimmermark, S., Sandstrom, V., Algers, B.

    In Sweden, laying hens are killed using the following methods: (i) traditional slaughter; (ii) on-farm with CO 2 in a mobile container combined with a grinder; or (iii) with CO 2 inside the barn. The number of hens killed using the latter method has increased. During these killings a veterinarian...

  19. Welfare Quality parameters do not always reflect hen behaviour across the lay cycle in non-cage laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Daigle, C., Siegford, J.

    The integration of outcome-based measurements to animal welfare assessment programmes can provide a new perspective on the individual animal's experience. Identifying variability in individual experiences can facilitate understanding of animals at the periphery of the welfare spectrum, compared...

  20. Changes in substrate access did not affect early feather-pecking behavior in two strains of laying hen chicks

    Contributor(s):: Dixon, L. M., Duncan, I. J. H.

    Feather pecking, commonly found in flocks of laying hens (Gallus gallus), is detrimental to bird welfare. Thought to cause this problem is the normal housing of layers without a floor substrate. Some evidence suggests that early substrate access decreases later feather pecking. However, there has...