|Title||Distance to the popholes does not affect use of the winter garden in laying hens|
|Author(s)||Rodenburg, T.B.; Gerritsen, M.A.; Topelberg, E.; Stump, R.; Naguib, M.|
|Source||In: Precision Livestock Farming 2015 - Papers Presented at the 7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015. - European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming - ISBN 9788890975325 - p. 547 - 551.|
|Event||7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015, Milan, 2015-09-15/2015-09-18|
AFSG Huisvesting & Techniek (WUATV)FM Huisvesting & Techniek
|Publication type||Contribution in proceedings|
|Keyword(s)||Free range - Laying hen - Outdoor run use - RFID tags|
In regulations for free range systems, maximum distances from the house to the popholes are defined. For instance in the Dutch IKB and the German KAT regulations for keeping laying hens, a house that offers free range access only on one side of the house cannot be wider than 15 meters. However, it is unclear what the actual evidence is that birds will not move for more than 15 meters for access to free range or a winter garden. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify whether distance from the popholes affects use of a winter garden in laying hens. To meet this aim, 9% of a flock of 5600 non-beak trimmed Lohmann Brown birds were tagged using RFID transponders, with antennas placed at the popholes. The house had a width of 31 meters and was divided in six rows of a Bolegg Terrace aviary system, with row one being closest to the outdoor run and row six being furthest away. In each row, 80 hens were caught and tagged, while perching at night. Access to the winter garden was measured for a six-week period. We here show that use of the winter garden was high, with 60% of all the tagged hens visiting the winter garden on 80 to a 100% of the days. Furthermore, although small differences in use of the winter garden between birds tagged at different rows were found, these could not be related to the distance of the row to the popholes. In conclusion, distance to popholes did not affect use of the winter garden in laying hens.