Temporal and Sequential Structure of Behavior and Facility Usage of Laying Hens in an Enriched Environment

A.K. Mishra, P. Koene, W.G.P. Schouten, B.M. Spruijt, P. van Beek, J.H.M. Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Improved housing for laying hens may start from the translation of their behavioral needs into welfare-based design parameters for laying hen houses. The objective of our research was to gain insights into the facility usage and behavioral needs of the hen over 24 h when there are no obvious restraints. Twenty ISA Brown commercial laying hens (Gallus domesticus) that were 18 wk old and not beak trimmed, were accommodated in a pen (4 × 6 m) at 19 ± 2°C on a light-dark cycle of 10L:14D. The pen providing nest boxes, drinkers, feeders, perches, sand, and wood shaving was designed to accommodate the hens for the experimental period. Video recordings were made for 10 d. Behavioral analyses were conducted on 5 birds for 5 d. Time spent on each behavior, log survivor analysis of events and inter-event intervals, bout analysis, diurnal pattern in events and bouts, occurrence of behavior in different segments and the corridor of the pen, and sequence analysis were performed to gain insights into the temporal and sequential structures of behavior. Hens spent 97% of the day on nest use, preening, drinking, feeding, still, walking, perching, and resting; 43% on commodity-dependent behavior; and 57% not on commodity-oriented behaviors. Behavioral events were short (around 70% event
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-991
Number of pages13
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • battery cages
  • splitting behavior
  • red junglefowl
  • time budgets
  • welfare
  • motivation
  • systems
  • bouts


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