Reducing stocking density improves behaviour in broilers breeders

I.C. de Jong, H. Gunnink, R.A. van Emous, A. Lourens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic


Broiler breeder males often show rough behaviour towards females during mating, which may cause fear and feather and skin damage in the females. Our hypothesis was that the high stocking density applied under commercial conditions hampers correct learning and performance of mating behaviour. Broiler breeders (Ross 308) were housed at standard stocking density (14 females/m2 or 8 males/m2 during rearing, 8 birds/m2 during production) or low stocking density (7 females/m2 or 5 males/m2 during rearing, 5 birds/m2 during production) from day 1 to 60 weeks of age. Standard management was applied. During production there were 10% males per group and group size was 150 birds. The experiment was of a 2 x 2 factorial design, resulting in 4 treatment groups: SL (standard stocking density during rearing, low stocking density during production), SS, LS and LL; N=8 groups/treatment. Behaviour and plumage condition were scored during rearing and production. In particular stocking density during production affected mating behaviour. LL and SL groups had more successful copulations at all ages (e.g., 0.51, 0.33, 0.22, 0.21 successful copulations/male/5 min at 30 weeks for LL, SL, SS, LS; P
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISAE 2012. Proceedings of the 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology. Quality of life in designed environments?
EditorsS. Waiblinger, C. Winckler, A. Gutmann
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) -
Duration: 31 Jul 20124 Aug 2012


Conference46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE)


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