Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Pecking and piling: The behaviour of conventional layer hybrids and dualpurpose hens in the nest
Giersberg, Mona ; Kemper, Nicole ; Splinder, Birgit - \ 2019
Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2019). - ISSN 0168-1591 - 7 p.
animal welfare - laying hen - nesting behaviour - feather pecking - gregarious nesting
Oviposition in an appropriate nest is a behavioural priority in laying hens, and layer strains are known to differ in their patterns of nest use. However, besides oviposition, laying hens often show undesired behaviours such as aggression or gregarious nesting in colony nest boxes. The aim of the present study was to obtain basic information on the patterns of nest use and the behaviour in the nest of dual-purpose hens (Lohmann Dual, LD) by comparing them to a conventional layer strain (Lohmann Brown plus, LB+). In addition, the effect of nest location was tested for each hybrid. About 1850 untrimmed hens per genetic strain were housed in four compartments of an aviary system with colony nest boxes on the top tier. Video-based data were recorded in the first (N1) and the sixth nest (N2) in a row of nest boxes in each compartment at three times during the laying period to assess the number of hens per nest, the duration of nest visits of focal animals, and the behaviour of the hens in the nest. In general, a larger number of LD (0.87 ± 0.09–10.63 ± 0.30) than LB+ hens (0.21 ± 0.04–4.90 ± 0.24) was observed per nest box. In both hybrids, more hens were found in N1 compared to N2 (P < 0.05). Except for 43rd–48th weeks of life, the durations of nest visits did not differ between LB+ (09:51 ± 00:41–18:25 ± 00:48 mm:ss) and LD hens (07:14 ± 00:32–17:14 ± 00:32 mm:ss). However, both hybrids spent more time in N2 compared to N1 (P < 0.05). Hybrid effects (P < 0.05) were found for nearly all of the observed behaviours. In particular, LB+ hens performed more total pecking behaviour, whereas LD hens showed more piling in the nest. In the LB+ hens, nest location affected only few of the behaviours. In contrast, nest location effects were found for most of the behaviours observed in the LD hens. Particularly piling occurred to a larger extent in N1. The present results indicate that the patterns of nest use and the behaviour in the nest differed between conventional layers and dual-purpose hens. Within genetic strain, dual-purpose hens seemed to be more affected by nest location than conventional layers
Automatic ultra-wideband sensor detection shows selection on feather pecking increases activity in laying hens
Haas, E.N. de; Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2017
In: Xth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, 19-22 June 2017, Ploufragan - France. - World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) - p. 101 - 101.
broiler breeders - nesting behaviour - genetics - nest design - housing - climate - laying hens - feather pecking - ultra-wideband tracking - activity - sensor technology
Broilers have been selected for growth related characteristics, which are negatively correlated to reproductive traits. This genetic background creates challenges in broiler breeders, as the hens do not make optimal use of the nests provided. This project aims to investigate what factors determine nesting behaviour, i.e. where a broiler breeder hen prefers to lay her eggs. Factors such as genetic background, social interactions, physical characteristics of the nest and climate might interfere with the natural nesting behaviour of the hen. Also fundamental trade-offs between different motivations, such as hunger, comfort and safety, might influence nesting behaviour. Behaviour and use of space will be measured in experimental set-ups in order to gain insight in the importance of different system components. This knowledge will be used to optimise housing conditions and develop strategies that stimulate the hen to lay her egg in the nest. The performance of this improved system will be tested in field experiments to investigate the transferability of results from experimental to field conditions.
Behavioural and physiological characterisation of laying hen lines divergently selected on feather pecking
Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Lammers, A. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2017
In: Xth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, 19-22 June 2017, Ploufragan - France. - World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) - p. 60 - 60.
broiler breeders - nesting behaviour - genetics - nest design - housing - climate - laying hens - feather pecking - fearfulness - coping style - stress - imune system
Broilers have been selected for growth related characteristics, which are negatively correlated to reproductive traits. This genetic background creates challenges in broiler breeders, as the hens do not make optimal use of the nests provided. This project aims to investigate what factors determine nesting behaviour, i.e. where a broiler breeder hen prefers to lay her eggs. Factors such as genetic background, social interactions, physical characteristics of the nest and climate might interfere with the natural nesting behaviour of the hen. Also fundamental trade-offs between different motivations, such as hunger, comfort and safety, might influence nesting behaviour. Behaviour and use of space will be measured in experimental set-ups in order to gain insight in the importance of different system components. This knowledge will be used to optimise housing conditions and develop strategies that stimulate the hen to lay her egg in the nest. The performance of this improved system will be tested in field experiments to investigate the transferability of results from experimental to field conditions.
Effects of divergent selection for natural antibodies on fearfulness and feather damage of laying hens
Nguyen Ba, Hieu ; Kroeske, Kikianne ; Berghof, T.V.L. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2017
In: Xth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, 19-22 June 2017, Ploufragan - France. - World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) - p. 57 - 57.
broiler breeders - nesting behaviour - genetics - nest design - housing - climate - natural antibodies - feather pecking - fearfulness - behavioural tests - serotonergic system
Broilers have been selected for growth related characteristics, which are negatively correlated to reproductive traits. This genetic background creates challenges in broiler breeders, as the hens do not make optimal use of the nests provided. This project aims to investigate what factors determine nesting behaviour, i.e. where a broiler breeder hen prefers to lay her eggs. Factors such as genetic background, social interactions, physical characteristics of the nest and climate might interfere with the natural nesting behaviour of the hen. Also fundamental trade-offs between different motivations, such as hunger, comfort and safety, might influence nesting behaviour. Behaviour and use of space will be measured in experimental set-ups in order to gain insight in the importance of different system components. This knowledge will be used to optimise housing conditions and develop strategies that stimulate the hen to lay her egg in the nest. The performance of this improved system will be tested in field experiments to investigate the transferability of results from experimental to field conditions.
The GroupHouseNet COST Action: exploiting European synergy to reduce feather pecking in laying hens
Rodenburg, T.B. ; Berk, J. ; Dimitrov, I. ; Edgar, J. ; Eijk, J.A.J. van der; Estevez, I. ; Ferrante, V. ; Haas, E.N. de; Kostal, L. ; Liaubet, L. ; Michel, V. ; Nordgreen, J. ; Ozkan, S. ; Pietta, D. ; Pichova, K. ; Riber, Anja B. ; Sossidou, E. ; Toscano, M.J. ; Valros, A. ; Zupan, M. ; Janczak, A.M. - \ 2017
In: Xth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, 19-22 June 2017, Ploufragan - France. - World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) - p. 41 - 46.
broiler breeders - nesting behaviour - genetics - nest design - housing - climate - feather pecking - prenatal effects - health - damaging behaviour - sensor technology
Broilers have been selected for growth related characteristics, which are negatively correlated to reproductive traits. This genetic background creates challenges in broiler breeders, as the hens do not make optimal use of the nests provided. This project aims to investigate what factors determine nesting behaviour, i.e. where a broiler breeder hen prefers to lay her eggs. Factors such as genetic background, social interactions, physical characteristics of the nest and climate might interfere with the natural nesting behaviour of the hen. Also fundamental trade-offs between different motivations, such as hunger, comfort and safety, might influence nesting behaviour. Behaviour and use of space will be measured in experimental set-ups in order to gain insight in the importance of different system components. This knowledge will be used to optimise housing conditions and develop strategies that stimulate the hen to lay her egg in the nest. The performance of this improved system will be tested in field experiments to investigate the transferability of results from experimental to field conditions.
Automatic ultra-wideband sensor detection shows selection on feather pecking increases activity in laying hens
Haas, Elske de - \ 2017
laying hens - feather pecking - ultra-wideband tracking - activity - sensor technology
The GroupHouseNet COST Action: exploiting European synergy to reduce feather pecking in laying hens
Rodenburg, Bas - \ 2017
feather pecking - genetics - prenatal effects - health - damaging behaviour - sensor technology
Effects of litter provision during early rearing and environmental enrichment during the production phase on feather pecking and feather damage in laying hens
Tahamtani, F.M. ; Brantsæter, M. ; Nordgreen, J. ; Sandberg, E. ; Hansen, T.B. ; Nødtvedt, A. ; Rodenburg, Bas ; Moe, R.O. ; Janczak, A.M. - \ 2016
Poultry Science 95 (2016)12. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2747 - 2756.
feather damage - feather pecking - laying hen - litter - welfare

Feather pecking is a multi-factorial behavioral disorder and a serious welfare issue in the poultry industry. Several studies report early life experience with litter to be a major determinant in the development of feather pecking. The current study aimed to test the large-scale on-farm efficiency of a simple and cheap husbandry procedure applied during the rearing period with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence of feather pecking and plumage damage during the production stage in laying hens. Five laying hen-rearing farmers from across Norway participated in the study. These farmers were asked to create divisions within their hen rearing houses and to separate their chicks into 2 groups: one reared with access to a paper substrate from the first d of age, the other a control group without access to paper substrate during rearing. All flocks were visited at the production farms at 30 wk of age and observed for pecking behavior and feather damage. Birds in the control group had higher odds of having more feather damage compared to the birds from the treatment group. In addition, flocks provided with environmental enrichment at the production farms had a reduced incidence of feather pecking, irrespective of the treatment. These results indicate that husbandry procedures during both rearing and production stages have the potential to alleviate feather pecking and increase laying hen welfare.

Pikkerij bij kalkoenen : een stap terug naar het natuurlijk gedrag en soortspecifieke eigenschappen
Niekerk, Thea van; Bracke, Marc B.M. - \ 2016
Wageningen : Wageningen UR Livestock Research (Livestock Research rapport 974) - 42
kalkoenen - verenpikken - diergedrag - gedragsbiologie - gedragsstoornissen - abnormaal gedrag - pluimveehouderij - dierenwelzijn - pluimvee - diergezondheid - turkeys - feather pecking - animal behaviour - behavioural biology - behaviour disorders - abnormal behaviour - poultry farming - animal welfare - poultry - animal health
With the upcoming ban on beak treatments in the Netherlands alternative measures have to be found to prevent injurious pecking behaviour in turkeys. The measures that are successful for chickens do not seem to have a lot of effect in turkeys. In this report the natural behaviour of turkeys has been reviewed to get more insight in the causes of injurious pecking in turkeys. This insight is used to find possible solutions for preventing injurious pecking in turkeys.
Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens
Heerkens, J.L.T. ; Delezie, Evelyne ; Kempen, Ine ; Zoons, Johan ; Ampe, Bart ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Tuyttens, F.A.M. - \ 2015
Poultry Science 94 (2015)9. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2008 - 2017.
aviary - feather pecking - housing system - mortality - red mite

Feather pecking and high mortality levels are significant welfare problems in non-cage housing systems for laying hens. The aim of this study was to identify husbandry-related risk factors for feather damage, mortality, and egg laying performance in laying hens housed in the multi-tier non-cage housing systems known as aviaries. Factors tested included type of system flooring, degree of red mite infestation, and access to free-range areas. Information on housing characteristics, management, and performance in Belgian aviaries (N = 47 flocks) were obtained from a questionnaire, farm records, and farm visits. Plumage condition and pecking wounds were scored in 50 randomly selected 60-week-old hens per flock. Associations between plumage condition, wounds, performance, mortality, and possible risk factors were investigated using a linear model with a stepwise model selection procedure. Many flocks exhibited a poor plumage condition and a high prevalence of wounds, with considerable variation between flocks. Better plumage condition was found in wire mesh aviaries (P <0.001), in aviaries with no red mite infestation (P = 0.004), and in free-range systems (P = 0.011) compared to plastic slatted aviaries, in houses with red mite infestations, and those without a free-range area. Furthermore, hens in aviaries with wire mesh flooring had fewer wounds on the back (P = 0.006) and vent (P = 0.009), reduced mortality (P = 0.003), and a better laying performance (P = 0.013) as compared to hens in aviaries with plastic slatted flooring. Flocks with better feather cover had lower levels of mortality (P <0.001). Red mite infestations were more common in plastic slatted aviaries (P = 0.043). Other risk factors associated with plumage condition were genotype, number of diet changes, and the presence of nest perches. Wire mesh flooring in particular seems to have several health, welfare, and performance benefits in comparison to plastic slats, possibly related to decreased feather pecking, better hygiene, and fewer red mite infestations. This suggests that adjustments to the aviary housing design may further improve laying hen welfare and performance.

Licht op licht: licht en verlichting in de pluimveehouderij in relatie tot beschadigend pikgedrag
Niekerk, T.G.C.M. van; Ellen, H.H. ; Winkel, A. - \ 2015
Livestock Research Wageningen UR (Livestock Research rapport 922) - 33 p.
pluimvee - licht - lichtregiem - gezichtsvermogen - verenpikken - pluimveehouderij - dierenwelzijn - dierlijke productie - hennen - huisvesting, dieren - diergezondheid - diergedrag - poultry - light - light regime - vision - feather pecking - poultry farming - animal welfare - animal production - hens - animal housing - animal health - animal behaviour
In this report an overview is given of the technical knowledge with regards to light. light sources and the vision of poultry. Recent developments in lighting of poultry houses are mainly focused on new light sources, specifically LED, and the presence of daylight. Daylight comprises UV, which for poultry is a visual part of the spectrum. Chickens also see better in the red and green-blue spectrum. Technically it is possible to make lamps in the desired spectrum, but there is insufficient knowledge of the demands of the bird to be able to tune the lamps to their needs.
Gelijkspel
Bestman, M.W.P. ; Verwer, C.M. ; Leenstra, F.R. ; Niekerk, T.G.C.M. van; Reuvekamp, B.F.J. - \ 2015
De Pluimveehouderij 43 (2015)11. - ISSN 0166-8250 - p. 29 - 29.
pluimveehouderij - snavelkappen - verenkleed - hennen - uitloop - biologische landbouw - dierenwelzijn - verenpikken - pluimvee - dierlijke productie - diergedrag - diergezondheid - poultry farming - debeaking - plumage - hens - outdoor run - organic farming - animal welfare - feather pecking - poultry - animal production - animal behaviour - animal health
Onderzoek weerspreekt dat kippen met onbehandelde snavels eerder kaal en kaler worden dan behandelde hennen, zoals vaak wordt gesteld. Er is weinig verschil in verenkleed tussen bio- en vrije-uitloophennen.
Praktijkmonitor ook in de legsector
Niekerk, T.G.C.M. van - \ 2015
De Pluimveehouderij 45 (2015)8. - ISSN 0166-8250 - p. 26 - 27.
pluimveehouderij - hennen - dierenwelzijn - diergezondheid - monitoring - diergedrag - verenpikken - dierlijke productie - pluimvee - poultry farming - hens - animal welfare - animal health - animal behaviour - feather pecking - animal production - poultry
Als voorbereiding op het naderend verbod op ingrepen, wordt bij (opfok)leghennen, net als bij vleeskuikenouderdieren, (praktijk)kennis vergaard. Om met die kennis de status en mogelijkheden van het houden van leghennen zonder bepaalde ingrepen in kaart te brengen.
Radio en kleurige overalls helpen tegen verenpikken
Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2015
WageningenWorld (2015)2. - ISSN 2210-7908 - p. 7 - 7.
hennen - kippen - verenpikken - diergedrag - stressfactoren - dierenwelzijn - geluiden - radio - kleur - diergezondheid - dierlijke productie - pluimvee - hens - fowls - feather pecking - animal behaviour - stress factors - animal welfare - sounds - colour - animal health - animal production - poultry
Wageningen University heeft samen met de Universiteit Utrecht en de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen manieren gevonden om verenpikken bij leghennen tegen te gaan. Dat biedt perspectief bij het verbod op snavelkappen dat in 2018 van kracht wordt.
Feather pecking and monoamines - a behavioral and neurobiological approach
Kops, M.S. - \ 2014
Wageningen University; Utrecht University. Promotor(en): B. Olivier; O. Güntürkün, co-promotor(en): S.M. Korte; Liesbeth Bolhuis. - Utrecht, The Netherlands : Utrecht University - ISBN 9789039361283 - 172
pluimveehouderij - hennen - verenpikken - diergedrag - dierenwelzijn - pluimvee - diergezondheid - dierlijke productie - serotonine - dopamine - fenotypen - genotypen - neurotransmitters - invloeden - poultry farming - hens - feather pecking - animal behaviour - animal welfare - poultry - animal health - animal production - serotonin - phenotypes - genotypes - influences
Severe feather pecking (SFP) remains one of the major welfare issues in laying hens. SFP is the pecking at and pulling out of feathers, inflicting damage to the plumage and skin of the recipient. The neurobiological profile determining the vulnerability of individual hens to develop into a severe feather pecker is unknown, although brain monoamines such as serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) seem to play a role. Previous studies related lower 5-HT and DA turnover ratios to an increased risk to develop SFP.In this thesis, monoamine levels in brain areas involved in emotional regulation and motor control were compared between phenotypically and genetically selected high and low feather peckers at different ages. It was found that adult high feather peckers had higher monoaminergic activity (lower metabolite levels and/or turnover ratios) in comparison to low feather peckers, which is in contrast with results on young hens. Differences were seen in several brain areas, namely the dorsal thalamus, medial striatum, amygdala, caudocentral nidopallium, and the somatomotor arcopallium, but to a lesser extend or not in the caudolateral nidopallium and the hippocampus. To investigate the exact neurobiological mechanism behind severe feather pecking further extracellular levels of 5-HT and DA and their metabolites were measured by in vivo microdialysis. Up till now, microdialysis has only been executed in young chickens, but this thesis describes the first microdialysis study performed in adult laying hens. It was found that adult severe feather peckers had a higher baseline release of 5-HT in the caudal nidopallium, a large associative area in the chicken’s forebrain. This result could not be explained by the amount of 5-HT presynaptically stored, as both high and low SFP lines displayed a similar 5-HT release after d-fenfluramine administration. This confirms that genetic selection on SFP has altered the serotonergic system in feather pecking-phenotypes. With clear phenotypic and genotypic differences in brain areas related to emotional regulation and motor control, it can be assumed that brain deficits at a young age increase an individual’s vulnerability to stressful environmental changes, which is associated with the prevalence of SFP later in life. The cause of the inversion of neurochemical patterns in young and adult high and low feather pecking hens remains to be elucidated. Perhaps this inversion is caused by development itself. On the other hand, higher behavioral patterns (SFP and other types of allopecking) observed in the high feather pecking chickens might have influenced the monoaminergic activity since the brain influences behavior and vice versa. Altogether, this thesis demonstrates the importance of considering the impact of genetic selection and also environmental conditions on brain neurotransmission and with that, on the vulnerability of individual chickens to develop SFP. Both the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems are involved in the development of SFP. With SFP being a multifactorial problem both genotype and phenotype have to be taken into account. Furthermore, in vivo microdialysis is a valuable approach to investigate why individual laying hens start SFP. This will lead to further understanding and ultimately in the reduction of SFP.
Radio doet scharrelkip goed
Sikkema, Albert ; Haas, Elske de - \ 2014
chicken housing - feather pecking - poultry farming - animal welfare - animal behaviour - cannibalism - sounds - radio - animal health - animal production - poultry
Tail Biting in Pigs: Blood Serotonin and Fearfulness as Pieces of the Puzzle?
Ursinus, W.W. ; Reenen, C.G. van; Reimert, I. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
PLoS ONE 9 (2014)9. - ISSN 1932-6203
obsessive-compulsive disorder - individual coping characteristics - environmental enrichment - laying hens - feather pecking - growing pigs - peripheral serotonin - behavioral-responses - platelet serotonin - growth-performance
Tail biting in pigs is a widespread problem in intensive pig farming. The tendency to develop this damaging behaviour has been suggested to relate to serotonergic functioning and personality characteristics of pigs. We investigated whether tail biting in pigs can be associated with blood serotonin and with their behavioural and physiological responses to novelty. Pigs (n = 480) were born in conventional farrowing pens and after weaning at four weeks of age they were either housed barren (B) or in straw-enriched (E) pens. Individual pigs were exposed to a back test and novel environment test before weaning, and after weaning to a novel object (i.e. bucket) test in an unfamiliar arena. A Principal Component Analysis on behaviours during the tests and salivary cortisol (novel object test only) revealed five factors for both housing systems, labeled ‘Early life exploration’, ‘Near bucket’, ‘Cortisol’, ‘Vocalizations & standing alert’, and ‘Back test activity’. Blood samples were taken at 8, 9 and 22 weeks of age to determine blood platelet serotonin. In different phases of life, pigs were classified as tail biter/non-tail biter based on tail biting behaviour, and as victim/non-victim based on tail wounds. A combination of both classifications resulted in four pig types: biters, victims, biter/victims, and neutrals. Generally, only in phases of life during which pigs were classified as tail biters, they seemed to have lower blood platelet serotonin storage and higher blood platelet uptake velocities. Victims also seemed to have lower blood serotonin storage. Additionally, in B housing, tail biters seemed to consistently have lower scores of the factor ‘Near bucket’, possibly indicating a higher fearfulness in tail biters. Further research is needed to elucidate the nature of the relationship between peripheral 5-HT, fearfulness and tail biting, and to develop successful strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce tail biting.
The fearful feather pecker : applying the principles to practice to prevent feather pecking in laying hens
Haas, E.N. de - \ 2014
Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Bas Kemp; A.G.G. Groothuis, co-promotor(en): Bas Rodenburg; Liesbeth Bolhuis. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570429 - 285
hennen - verenpikken - bangheid - gedragsproblemen - lijnen - hormonale controle - stressreactie - ontogenie - legresultaten - dierenwelzijn - diergedrag - dierfysiologie - hens - feather pecking - fearfulness - behaviour problems - lines - hormonal control - stress response - ontogeny - laying performance - animal welfare - animal behaviour - animal physiology

Billions of laying hens are kept worldwide. Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a behaviour which occurs with a high prevalence on commercial farms. SFP, the pecking and plucking of feathers of another bird, induces pain and stress and can ultimately lead to cannibalism. Moreover, SFP can occur if a bird is unable to cope with fear and stress and is living in an inappropriate environment. SFP thus reduces the welfare of many laying hens worldwide. To prevent SFP it is essential to know the risk factors in its development. To that aim, first, two experimental studies were conducted to gain insight in the principles of SFP, and three on-farm studies were conducted to assess the risk factors of SFP under commercial conditions.

THE PRINCIPLES

Factors which relate to SFP are high fearfulness as young and low levels of brain and peripheral serotonin (5-HT) and brain dopamine (DA). Furthermore, commercial laying hen lines can differ in SFP tendencies and associated traits indicating that SFP has a genetic component. In chapters 2 and 3, fear response as young and adult, and stress response, 5-HT and DA brain levels as adult were

compared in hens of two lines: the low mortality line (LML) selected on low levels of mortality due to cannibalism and individual performance vs. the control line (CL) which was selected on individual performance only. Hens were exposed to an Open Field (OF) test at 5 weeks of age and a Manual Restraint (MR) test at 33 weeks of age. At 33 weeks of age, levels of corticosterone (CORT) post MR and 5-HT and DA levels in four brain areas were determined. Hens of the LML were less fearful at both ages and had lower levels of DA in the arcopallium, a somatomotor area involved in fear and motor control, compared to hens of the CL. In chapter 2, it was also shown that fearful chicks had higher levels of CORT and higher activity levels as adult, compared to non-fearful chicks. Moreover,

presence of fearful animals in the group was related to average CORT levels of their pen members. Fearful hens may induce social instability in a group, and thereby affecting the stress-sensitivity of their group mates. These results indicate that groups differ in levels of fear and stress-sensitivity, and that fearfulness at a young age can lead to stress-sensitivity as adults, which create a risk for development of SFP.

THE PRACTICE

In chapters 4, 5 and 6, the laying hen production chain consisting of parent stock, rearing flocks and laying flocks was studied. Risk factors for SFP could originate from previous parts in the chain. Therefore, in all on-farm studies, measurements of SFP, fearfulness, basal CORT and peripheral 5-HT system were obtained, and related to housing conditions and to previous parts in the chain. Fearfulness was assessed, on a flock level, by distance to a stationary person (SP) test and latency

of bird to approach a novel object (NO). Dekalb White (DW) and ISA brown (ISA) crosses whose pure lines differ in levels of fear, CORT, 5-HT and DA, were compared. First, parent stock (PS) flocks were studied and associations between production performance and measurements of fear, stress and 5-HT were conducted and related to group size conditions (chapter 4). Second, rearing flocks originating from PS flocks were studied throughout the rearing period (chapter 5). High levels of feather damage, CORT and 5-HT in the mothers were related to fearfulness and SFP in their offspring at flock level. Especially, a large flock size and limitation and/or disruption in litter supply affected SFP and levels of fearfulness and 5-HT (chapter 5). Finally, high levels of feather damage during the laying period were related to high SFP rearing, and high fearfulness during rearing and laying (chapter 6). These studies together aimed to determine the risk factors for the development of SFP and the resulting feather damage. The main outcomes of these studies are as follows.

Ø Parent stock flocks

DW flocks were more fearful of an SP and hens had higher levels of feather damage than in ISA flocks. ISA flocks, in turn, were more fearful of the NO and hens had higher 5-HT levels than in DW flocks. A small flock size led to higher feed conversion, mortality levels, and smothering events in ISA but not in DW flocks. These results indicate that DW and ISA PS flocks differ in levels of fear and

feather damage, and respond differently to their social environment. For both crosses, fear of an SP related to high mortality and fear of the NO related to low hen body weight, egg weight, and feed intake. High basal CORT related to low egg weight. High fear and stress levels in PS flocks may, thus, negatively affect (re)production, and thereby potentially negatively influence the developing

embryo.

Ø Rearing flocks

In the DW cross, high CORT, feather damage, and 5-HT of mother hens related to high SFP and fearfulness of their rearing flocks at 1 week of age. At 5 weeks of age, a peak in both gentle feather pecking (GFP) and SFP was recorded, coinciding with a disruption in substrate availability (i.e. a temporal absence of substrate) and a limitation of substrate (i.e. limited amounts of substrate

provided) in some of the farms. Especially, ISA pullets showed higher SFP under substrate limitation and became more fearful under substrate disruption than DW pullets. ISA pullets had higher 5-HT levels than DW pullets. Only in the ISA cross, high 5-HT related to high fearfulness, specifically under substrate disruption. For both crosses, high fearfulness was related to high feather damage. Furthermore, in a level system (floor system where levels are gradually added) higher levels of SFP and feather damage were found compared to an aviary system (a tier-system with cages and litter area). These results highlight that; 1) parental effects exist in the development of fearfulness and SFP, 2) disruption and limitation in substrate availability can lead to high SFP at 5 weeks of age, 3) ISA pullets are more strongly influenced by environmental conditions than DW pullets and 4) a level housing, which coincided with a large group size, increase the risk of SFP and feather damage during rearing.

Ø Laying flocks

In our sample, 49% of the laying flocks had severe damage at 40 weeks of age, compared with 71%, 65% and 53% of the rearing flocks at 15, 10 and 5 weeks of age, respectively. High fear of a SP at rearing and high SFP at 5 weeks of age related to high levels of feather damage at lay. In a floor system and at a large flock size higher levels of feather damage were recorded than in an aviary system and at a small flock size. An adjusted management on the laying farm (i.e. aerated blocks, presence of roosters or a radio playing) reduced levels of feather damage compared to standard management. DW flocks were more fearful of the SP and NO than ISA flocks. This study showed that factors during rearing and laying contributed to feather damage at 40 weeks of age.

With the knowledge from the experimental and on-farm studies in this thesis, an assessment of the risk factors for SFP could be established. Risk factors for SFP are: high fear, stress and feather damage in DW parent stock, high fear of humans, especially for DW hens, litter disruption or limitation during rearing, large group sizes, and a floor or level system.

Laying hen performance in different production systems; why do they differ and how to close the gap? Results of discussions with groups of farmers in The Netherlands, Switzerland and France, benchmarking and model calculations
Leenstra, F.R. ; Maurer, V. ; Galea, F. ; Bestman, M.W.P. ; Amsler, Z. ; Visscher, J. ; Vermeij, I. ; Krimpen, M.M. van - \ 2014
European Poultry Science 78 (2014)3. - ISSN 1612-9199 - p. 1 - 10.
pluimveehouderij - hennen - uitloop - biologische landbouw - eierproductie - huisvesting van kippen - pluimveevoeding - dierenwelzijn - poultry farming - hens - outdoor run - organic farming - egg production - chicken housing - poultry feeding - animal welfare - egg-production systems - free-range - feather pecking - risk-factors - welfare - uk
Free range and organic systems expose the laying hen more to unexpected events and adverse climatic conditions than barn and cage systems. In France, The Netherlands and Switzerland the requirements for a hen suitable to produce in free range and organic systems were discussed with farmers. The farmers preferred for these systems a more 'robust' hen, more specifically defined as a heavier hen with good eating capacity
Goed in de veren blijven
Jong, I.C. de; Gunnink, H. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Haas, E.N. de - \ 2014
De Pluimveehouderij 44 (2014)9. - ISSN 0166-8250 - p. 24 - 25.
pluimveehouderij - huisvesting van kippen - strooisel - verenpikken - dierenwelzijn - kuikens - hennen - diergedrag - diergezondheid - poultry farming - chicken housing - litter (plant) - feather pecking - animal welfare - chicks - hens - animal behaviour - animal health
Is jong geleerd oud gedaan? WUR Livestock Research heeft onderzoek gedaan naar het belang van strooisel en huisvesting in de opfok voor veren pikken in de vroege leg.
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