Eating behaviour, and preprandial and postprandial correlations in male broiler and layer chickens

E.A.M. Bokkers, P. Koene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. It has been suggested that broiler chickens have a disturbed satiety and hunger mechanism. The satiety mechanism for eating can be expressed as the positive correlation between meal length and the length of the preceding ( preprandial) interval; the hunger mechanism for eating as the positive correlation between meal length and the length of the succeeding ( postprandial) interval. An experiment was conducted to investigate eating behaviour of male broiler and layer chickens by measuring meal and interval lengths. 2. Eight male broilers and 8 male layer chickens were housed individually and visually isolated in floor pens ( 1m(2)/ pen) on wood shavings. From 4 to 7 weeks of age, eating behaviour of each bird was recorded for 3 h in two conditions each week. In the first condition, the birds were not deprived from feed. In the second condition, they were 24-h food deprived and feed was provided just before the observation started. Preprandial and postprandial correlations were calculated based on data of the non-deprived condition. Before and after each observation bird and feeder were weighed to measure weight gain and feed consumption during observation. 3. Under the non-deprived condition, the broilers spent initially more, but at a later age less time on eating. The broilers had fewer meals per hour, consumed more feed per hour, and had longer meal and interval lengths than the layer chickens. After 24-h feed deprivation, the broilers had a longer first meal, consumed more feed per hour and spent more time on eating than the layer chickens. Significant preprandial correlations but no postprandial correlations were found in the broilers. In the layer chickens, both significant preprandial and postprandial correlations were found. This indicates that for regulating eating behaviour, the satiety mechanism dominates the hunger mechanism in broilers, and satiety and hunger mechanisms are equally involved in layer chickens. 4. The typical eating behaviour of broilers and the calculated preprandial and postprandial correlations have given new indications that hunger and satiety mechanisms in broilers have changed compared with layer chickens. In broilers, there is no lower set point, but only an upper set point for controlling eating behaviour, which suggests that broilers eat to their maximal physical capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-544
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • food-intake
  • body-weight
  • feeding-behavior
  • japanese quail
  • domestic-fowls
  • selection
  • patterns
  • mammals
  • growth
  • leptin

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