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  1. Vigilance and roosting behaviour of laying hens on different perch heights

    Contributor(s):: Brendler, Christina, Kipper, Silke, Schrader, Lars

    Laying hens prefer roosting on high compared to low perches during night time. According to the antipredator hypothesis, hens on high perches can afford to be less vigilant while roosting at night. A total of 120 LSL hens in groups of five were presented a single perch, which was varied in height...

  2. Predicting feather damage in laying hens during the laying period. Is it the past or is it the present?

    Contributor(s):: de Haas, Elske N., Bolhuis, J. Elizabeth, de Jong, Ingrid C., Kemp, Bas, Janczak, Andrew M., Rodenburg, T. Bas

    Feather damage due to severe feather pecking (SFP) in laying hens is most severe during the laying period. However, SFP can develop at an early age and is influenced by early rearing conditions. In this study we assessed the risk factors during the rearing and laying period for feather damage at...

  3. Flocking for food or flockmates?

    Contributor(s):: Asher, Lucy, Collins, Lisa M., Pfeiffer, Dirk U., Nicol, Christine J.

    Animals in groups behave cohesively, even when those animals are domesticated and are housed in limited environments. But how is such group cohesion maintained? Do animals move in an independent manner, according to their own motivations, or in a social manner, with respect to the movements of...

  4. Evidence of competition for nest sites by laying hens in large furnished cages

    Contributor(s):: Hunniford, Michelle E., Torrey, Stephanie, Bédécarrats, Gregoy, Duncan, Ian J. H., Widowski, Tina M.

    Furnished cages are designed to accommodate behaviour considered important to laying hens, particularly nesting behaviour. Few researchers have studied the degree of competition for nest sites or the extent to which the amount of nest space affects nesting behaviour in large furnished cages. We...

  5. The effect of rearing environment on feather pecking in young and adult laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Gilani, Anne-Marie, Knowles, Toby G., Nicol, Christine J.

    Although the rearing period has an important influence on the development of feather pecking in laying hens, few studies have quantified the risk factors operating on commercial farms during this time and identified their long-term impact. Our aim was to conduct a longitudinal study to...

  6. Does nest size matter to laying hens?

    Contributor(s):: Ringgenberg, Nadine, Fröhlich, Ernst K. F., Harlander-Matauschek, Alexandra, Würbel, Hanno, Roth, Beatrice A.

    Laying hens in loose housing systems have access to group-nests which provide space for several hens at a time to lay their eggs. They are thus rather large and the trend in the industry is to further increase the size of these nests. Though practicality is important for the producer, group-nests...

  7. Roosting behaviour in laying hens on perches of different temperatures: Trade-offs between thermoregulation, energy budget, vigilance and resting

    Contributor(s):: Pickel, Thorsten, Scholz, Britta, Schrader, Lars

    Laying hens usually select an elevated position for resting at night-time. A previous study showed that the position a hen takes during resting was affected by perch material, most probably due to its thermal conductivity. The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of perch surface...

  8. Influence of nest-floor slope on the nest choice of laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Stämpfli, Karin, Roth, Beatrice A., Buchwalder, Theres, Fröhlich, Ernst K. F.

    Group nests in alternative housing systems for laying hens primarily fulfil the hen's needs for seclusion and protection. Commercial nests used in Switzerland are built according to the provisions of the Swiss Animal Welfare Legislation. However, nest types can differ in aspects, such as floor...

  9. The effect of dark brooders on feather pecking on commercial farms

    Contributor(s):: Gilani, Anne-Marie, Knowles, Toby G., Nicol, Christine J.

    Commercial laying hen chicks experience continuous light for up to 24h/day in the first week of life. Under these conditions, active chicks disturb, and may direct feather pecks towards resting ones. Previous experimental work with small groups showed that both problems were reduced in chicks...

  10. Applying chemical stimuli on feathers to reduce feather pecking in laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Harlander-Matauschek, Alexandra, Rodenburg, T. Bas

    Recent studies have shown that spraying a distasteful substance (quinine) on a bird's feather cover reduced short-term feather pecking. The present experiment evaluated if other substances offer similar or better protection against feather pecking. One hundred and twenty birds were divided into...

  11. Sham dustbathing in cages by subordinate hens is increased by a partition providing isolation

    Contributor(s):: Moroki, Yuko

    Subordinate hens express less sham dustbathing in cages than higher ranked hens, their bouts often being disturbed by a higher ranked hen. However, seeing conspecifics seems to encourage this behaviour by hens. So to avoid being disturbed, a partition between hens in a cage may facilitate sham...

  12. More eggs but less social and more fearful? Differences in behavioral traits in relation to the phylogenetic background and productivity level in laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Dudde, Anissa, Schrader, Lars, Weigend, Steffen, Matthews, Lindsay R., Krause, E. Tobias

    Different lines of laying hens have undergone a strong selection pressure for productivity traits, which has been proposed as a potential cause of undesirable side effects like behavioural disorders. One reason for such behavioral changes might be due to energy trade-offs, as high productive...

  13. Provision of a resource package reduces feather pecking and improves ranging distribution on free-range layer farms

    Contributor(s):: Pettersson, Isabelle C., Weeks, Claire A., Nicol, Christine J.

    The effect of a resource package designed to reduce inter-bird pecking and increase range use was tested on fourteen free-range farms in the UK. The package comprised two types of objects intended to attract pecking behaviour: ‘pecking pans’ containing a particulate pecking block, and wind...

  14. Effects of horizontal distance between perches on perching behaviors of Lohmann Hens

    Contributor(s):: Liu, Kai, Xin, Hongwei

    Perching is a highly-motivated natural behavior of laying hens that has been considered as one of the essential welfare requirements. The objective of the study was to evaluate perching behaviors of laying hens as affected by horizontal distance (HD) between parallel perches. A total of 48...

  15. Genetics of the Novel Object Test outcome in laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Rozempolska-Rucinska, Iwona, Kibala, Lucyna, Prochniak, Tomasz, Zieba, Grzegorz, Lukaszewicz, Marek

    The purpose of the study was to answer the question whether the behavioural reactions to a novel object can serve as a criterion in selection toward lowering the fearfulness level in laying hens. Fear can be a harmful emotional state resulting from perceiving of an experience as a potential...

  16. Group size and phenotypic appearance: Their role on the social dynamics in pullets

    Contributor(s):: Campderrich, Irene, Liste, Guiomar, Estevez, Inma

    Non-caged production systems offer greater freedom of movement and behavioural opportunities to pullets, which may also include the occurrence of undesired behaviours. The incidence of such behaviours may be affected by group size but also by the group memberś phenotype. This study was designed...

  17. The effect of ramp provision on the accessibility of the litter in single and multi-tier laying hen housing

    Contributor(s):: Pettersson, Isabelle C., Weeks, Claire A., Nicol, Christine J.

    Level changes in commercial laying hen loose-housing systems may be physically difficult for birds to negotiate, preventing or limiting access to resources such as the litter area and the outdoor range, and potentially increasing injury risk. The aim of this research was to investigate bird...

  18. Development of physical activity levels in laying hens in three-dimensional aviaries

    Contributor(s):: Kozak, Madison, Tobalske, Bret, Springthorpe, Dwight, Szkotnicki, Bill, Harlander-Matauschek, Alexandra

    Levels of physical activity are known to be associated with a number of health and welfare parameters in laying hens, such as stronger bones. Despite this, we presently lack insight into the development of physical activity throughout the life of the laying hen. To close this knowledge gap, we...

  19. Stimuli from feed for sham dustbathing in caged laying hens

    Contributor(s):: Moroki, Yuko, Tanaka, Toshio

    Sham dustbathing is observed in caged hens, particularly near the feed trough, so it seems that feed acts as a stimulus for this behaviour, and the aim of this experiment was to test this. Commercial White Leghorn pullets that had been reared in group cages were housed at 17 weeks of age in...

  20. Examining affective structure in chickens: valence, intensity, persistence and generalization measured using a Conditioned Place Preference Test

    Contributor(s):: Paul, Elizabeth S., Edgar, Joanne L., Caplen, Gina, Nicol, Christine J.

    When measuring animals' valenced behavioural responses to stimuli, e on itio ne ace test goes goes a step further than many approach-based and avoidance-based tests by establishing whether a learned preference for, or aversion to, the location in which the stimulus was encountered can be...