Effect of an outdoor run and natural light on welfare of fast growing broilers.

M.A.W. Ruis, E. Coenen, J. van Harn, P. Lenskens, T.B. Rodenburg

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Environmental enrichment may provide a solution to moderate several welfare problems in broiler production. Broilers are often housed in closed houses, with a minimum of resources for performing motivated behaviours. By providing more resources, the birds may be stimulated to become more active, and to exercise a wider range of behaviours. Two experiments (replicates) were conducted, one in summer- and one in wintertime. In each experiment, fast growing broilers (Cobb 500) were either placed in standard pens (n=4), in pens with natural light (n=4), or in pens equipped with outdoor runs (n=4). In each pen, approximately 390 birds were placed. With natural light, light intensity was highly variable, and was on average 9 lux. The outdoor runs were covered with a roof, and were open 24 hours from 3 weeks of age. From 2 weeks of age, behaviour of the birds was observed weekly by scan sampling. The birds were gait-scored one week before slaughter age (42 days). Data were subjected to analysis of variance. Outdoor runs were most often used in summertime (summer vs. winter: 13 and 2%, respectively). With an outdoor run, the percentage of birds performing resting behaviour inside the house increased with 3-4% (P
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings 38th ISAE-congress<Helsinki, Finland, 3-7 August 2004
    Place of PublicationHelsinki, Finland
    Pages255-255
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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