Function and organization of dustbathing in laying hens

D.W. van Liere

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


    Dustbathing in laying hens <em></em> ( <em>Gallus gallus domesticus</em> ) serves to remove excessive feather lipids which accumulate and become stale during dust deprivation. In addition and probably as a consequence of lipid removal the fluffiness of the downy feather parts is enhanced. A dustbath consists of appetitive tossings and consummatory rubbings. Its function as well as its organization depend on the nature of the bathing litter. The uninterrupted performance of rubbing is crucial and predicts consistent bathing litter preferences. An increase in stale feather lipids enhances the tendency to bathe, while sham-dustbathing occurs during dust deprivation. However, during long-term deprivation sham-dustbathing develops abnormally. This seems due to intrinsic reinforcement. Long-term deprivation of functional stimulation prescribed by phylogenetical standards may result in an uncontrollable motivation to dustbathe.<p><em></em>
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Wiepkema, P.R., Promotor, External person
    Award date10 Dec 1991
    Place of PublicationS.l.
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    • animal behaviour
    • hens
    • reproduction
    • feathers

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