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.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 324889
Title Heritability of feather pecking and open-field response of laying hens at two different ages
Author(s) Rodenburg, T.B.; Buitenhuis, A.J.; Ask, B.; Uitdehaag, K.A.; Koene, P.; Poel, J.J. van der; Bovenhuis, H.
Source Poultry Science 82 (2003)6. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 861 - 867.
Department(s) Chair Ethology
Animal Breeding and Genomics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2003
Keyword(s) tonic immobility - domestic chicks - behavior - selection - cannibalism - plumage - line
Abstract The objective of the current study was to estimate heritabilities. (h(2)) of feather pecking and open-field response of laying hens at two different ages. An F-2 cross, originating from a high and a low feather pecking line of laying hens, was used for the experiment. Each of the 630 birds of the F-2 cross was subjected to an open-field test (individual, 10 min) at 5 and 29 wk of age and to a social feather pecking test (groups of five birds on wood shavings, 30 min) at 6 and 30 wk of age. Both tests were performed in a square open field (1.25 x 1.25 m). Behavior was recorded directly from a monitor. Heritabilities of feather pecking and open-field behaviors were calculated. In the open-field test at 5 wk of age, high h(2) were found for most traits, ranging from 0.20 for the frequency of flying to 0.49 for number of steps. In the social test at 6 wk, gentle feather pecking (0.12) and ground pecking (0.13) were found to be heritable. When both tests were repeated at 29 and 30 wk of age, h(2) estimates were lower for the open-field test, ranging from 0.10 for duration of sitting to 0.20 for latency to first step. In the social test, however, higher h(2) estimates of 0.15 for gentle feather pecking and 0.30 for ground pecking were found compared with 6 wk of age. In conclusion, gentle feather pecking and open-field behaviors may be used in selection against feather pecking.
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