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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    Comparative assessment of general behaviour and fear-related responses in hatchery-hatched and on-farm hatched broiler chickens
    Giersberg, Mona F. ; Poolen, Ilse ; Baere, Kris de; Gunnink, Henk ; Hattum, Theo van; Riel, Johan W. van; Jong, Ingrid C. de - \ 2020
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 232 (2020). - ISSN 0168-1591
    Behaviour - Broilers - Early feeding - Fear - On-farm hatching - Welfare

    Traditionally, broiler chickens hatch in the hatchery and they are usually not provided with feed and water until placement at the farm. This can have negative effects on their health and welfare. Therefore, alternative systems providing early nutrition, for instance by hatching eggs in a poultry house (on-farm hatching) are increasingly being used in practice. However, information on the behaviour and welfare of on-farm hatched chickens in relation to hatchery-hatched chickens is very limited. This study aims to gain basic knowledge of the behaviour of on-farm hatched chickens (OH) by comparing them to a control group (C) hatched in the hatchery. In addition, fear-related responses were assessed as indicators of chicken welfare. About 13,800 chickens per treatment group were reared in three consecutive batches in eight floor pens under semi-commercial conditions. Direct behavioural observations and three different fear tests, i.e. a novel environment, a human approach and a novel object test, were carried out between two and 36 days of age. Except for ‘disturbance behaviour’ (i.e. pushing or overrunning another chicken), which was more often performed by the OH chickens (F1,3 = 35.10, P < 0.05), no effect of treatment was found on general behaviour. In contrast, nearly all observed behaviours were affected by the chickens’ age (F4,24 = 4.02–41.81, P < 0.05). In the fear tests, most variables, for instance average latency of chickens touching a human and the number of chickens in the vicinity of a novel object, differed between the treatments (P < 0.05) with OH chickens being more fearful and less active. The present results indicate that the hatching system (hatchery-hatching vs. on-farm hatching) seems to have limited effects on broiler chicken activity and general behaviours. In test situations, however, hatchery-hatched chickens showed more active and less fearful responses compared to on-farm hatched chickens. The underlying causes for these differences in response to more challenging situations remain to be investigated further, as these may be related to a higher intrinsic motivation to search for food or more exposure to humans or objects in the hatchery in C chickens as compared to OH chickens, but also to differences in coping style or development of cognitive abilities between the treatment groups.

    Assessing the activity of individual group-housed broilers throughout life using a passive radio frequency identification system—a validation study
    Sluis, Malou van der; Haas, Yvette de; Klerk, Britt de; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Ellen, Esther D. - \ 2020
    Sensors 20 (2020)13. - ISSN 1424-8220 - p. 1 - 21.
    Activity - Broilers - Radio frequency identification - Tracking - Ultra-wideband - Video

    Individual data are valuable for assessing the health, welfare and performance of broilers. In particular, data on the first few days of life are needed to study the predictive value of traits recorded early in life for later life performance. However, broilers are generally kept in groups, which hampers individual identification and monitoring of animals. Sensor technologies may aid in identifying and monitoring individual animals. In this study, a passive radio frequency identification (RFID) system was implemented to record broiler activity, in combination with traditional video recordings. The two main objectives were 1) to validate the output of the RFID system by comparing it to the recorded locations on video, and 2) to assess whether the number of antennas visited per unit time could serve as a measure of activity, by comparing it to the distance recorded on video and to the distance moved as recorded using a validated ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking system. The locations recorded by the RFID system exactly matched the video in 62.5% of the cases, and in 99.2% of the cases when allowing for a deviation of one antenna grid cell. There were moderately strong Spearman rank correlations between the distance recorded with the RFID system and the distance recorded from video (rs = 0.82) and between UWB and RFID (rs = 0.70) in approximately one-hour recordings, indicating that the RFID system can adequately track relative individual broiler activity, i.e., the activity level of a broiler in comparison to its group members. As the RFID tags are small and lightweight, the RFID system is well suited for monitoring the individual activity of group-housed broilers throughout life.

    Assessing individual activity levels in two broiler lines using an ultra-wideband tracking system
    Sluis, Malou van der; Klerk, B. De; Ellen, E.D. ; Haas, Y. De; Hijink, T. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2019
    In: Precision Livestock Farming 2019. - Teagasc (Precision Livestock Farming 2019 - Papers Presented at the 9th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2019 ) - ISBN 9781841706542 - p. 903 - 906.
    Activity - Broilers - Tracking - Ultra-wideband

    Individual data on activity of broilers is valuable for breeding programmes, as activity may serve as proxy for multiple health, welfare and performance indicators. However, in current husbandry systems, broilers are often kept in large groups, which makes it difficult to identify and monitor them at the individual level. Sensor technologies, such as ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking systems, might offer solutions. This paper investigated the recorded distances of an UWB tracking system that was applied to broilers, as a first step in assessing the potential of an UWB tracking system for studying individual levels of activity in broilers housed in groups. To this end, the distances moved as recorded by the UWB system were compared to distances recorded on video, using Kinovea video tracking software. There was a moderately strong positive correlation between the output of the UWB system and video tracking, although some under- and over- estimations were observed. Even though the recorded distances from the UWB system may not completely match the true distances moved, the UWB system appears to be well-suited for studying differences in activity between individual broilers when measured with the same system settings.

    Validation of an ultra-wideband tracking system for recording individual levels of activity in broilers
    Sluis, Malou Van Der; Klerk, Britt De; Ellen, Esther D. ; Haas, Yvette De; Hijink, Thijme ; Rodenburg, Bas - \ 2019
    Animals 9 (2019)8. - ISSN 2076-2615
    Activity - Broilers - Group housing - Tracking - Ultra-wideband

    Broiler chickens are often kept in large groups, which makes it difficult to identify individual birds and monitor their activity. Here, we studied whether an automated tracking system, using ultra-wideband technology, could be implemented to study activity of individual broilers. We compared the distance as recorded with the tracking system to the distance recorded on video and found a moderately strong positive correlation. Using the tracking system, we were able to detect decreases in activity over time, and we found that lightweight birds were on average more active than heavier birds. Both these results match with reports from literature and therefore support the conclusion that the tracking system appears well-suited for monitoring activity in broilers. The information on activity over time that can be collected with this system can potentially be used to study health, welfare and performance at the individual level, but further research into individual patterns in activity is required. Individual data on activity of broilers is valuable, as activity may serve as a proxy for multiple health, welfare and performance indicators. However, broilers are often kept in large groups, which makes it dificult to identify and monitor them individually. Sensor technologies might offer solutions. Here, an ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking system was implemented with the goal of validating this system for individual tracking of activity of group-housed broilers. The implemented approaches were (1) a comparison of distances moved as recorded by the UWB system and on video and (2) a study recording individual levels of activity of broilers and assessing group-level trends in activity over time; that could be compared to activity trends from literature. There was a moderately strong positive correlation between the UWB system and video tracking. Using the UWB system, we detected reductions in activity over time and we found that lightweight birds were on average more active than heavier birds. Both findings match with reports in literature. Overall, the UWB system appears well-suited for activity monitoring in broilers, when the settings are kept the same for all individuals. The longitudinal information on differences in activity can potentially be used as proxy for health, welfare and performance; but further research into individual patterns in activity is required.

    Nutritive values of wheat bran-based broiler diet supplemented with different classes of enzymes
    Salami, Saheed Ayodeji ; Agbonlahor, Ehizogie Marymartha ; Salako, Abiola Olayemi ; Sideeq, Bashirat Adepeju ; Agboola, Jeleel Opeyemi ; Atteh, Job Olutimehin - \ 2018
    Tropical Agriculture 95 (2018)3. - ISSN 0041-3216 - p. 245 - 256.
    Broilers - Diet - Enzyme - Metabolisable energy - Performance

    Previous studies have shown that inclusion of exogenous enzymes in broiler diets can improve metabolizable energy intakes, digestibility and performance parameters. However, there is limited information on the comparative effect of different enzymes in wheat bran-based broiler diet. This study investigated the effect of different enzyme classes on metabolizable energy (ME) values of wheat bran as well as the performance parameters and nutrient retention of broilers. A total of 216 mixed-sex one-day-old chicks were fed either the basal diet or test diet (20% basal diet replaced with wheat bran) without or with supplementation of carbohydrase-cocktail (CC), multi-enzyme (MEnz) and single-carbohydrase (SC). The enzymes increased (P<0.001) the ME values of wheat bran but SC had the highest increase for apparent ME, nitrogen-corrected apparent ME and true ME values of wheat bran. Neither performance parameters of feed intake (FI), body weight gain (BWG), feed conversion ratio (FCR) nor economic benefit (EB) was affected by the interaction between diets and enzymes. A significant dietary effect (P<0.05) was observed as higher FI, lower FCR, and better EB on the test diet compared to basal diet. The enzyme inclusions, however, had similar improvements on (P<0.05) on BWG, FCR and EB of broilers. The dietary enzymes increased fat and phosphorus (P) retentions on both test and basal diets (P<0.001), with birds fed CC added to test diet showing the highest phosphorus retention. In conclusion, enzyme inclusions in wheat-bran based diet improved the ME values of wheat bran and the nutrient retention of broilers, although broiler performance was unaffected. The inclusion of CC in 20% wheat bran-based diet can be economically useful in improving P retention of broilers, with potential benefit for reducing P losses to the environment.

    Dynamics of cefotaxime resistant Escherichia coli in broilers in the first week of life
    Dierikx, Cindy M. ; Goot, Jeanet van der; Essen-Zandbergen, Alieda van; Mevius, Dik J. - \ 2018
    Veterinary Microbiology 222 (2018). - ISSN 0378-1135 - p. 64 - 68.
    AmpC - Antibiotic resistance - Broilers - Cefotaxime - E. coli - ESBL

    Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing E. coli (ESBL-E) are wide spread among broilers, with the highest prevalence among individual birds at broiler production farms. Previous research describes low prevalences among individual birds at arrival at the farm (below 30%), and a rapid increase up to 100% within the first week. Our goal was to investigate whether this rapid increase was due to latent contamination of ESBL-E or to contamination at the broiler farm. Two broiler groups, one hatched at a conventional hatchery and the other individually hatched in an ESBL-free environment, were housed individually in an experimental ESBL-free environment. A third group was hatched at a conventional hatchery and kept at a conventional broiler farm. The birds were sampled daily during the first week after hatch and tested for the presence of ESBL-E. In addition ESBL-E presence in eggs that were not incubated was investigated. All birds and eggs came from one ESBL-E positive parent flock. ESBL/AmpC genes, plasmids and E. coli sequence types were determined for a selection of isolates. ESBL-E was never found in the two groups kept in the ESBL-free experimental environment or in the sampled eggs, whereas all broilers sampled at the conventional farm became positive for ESBL-E within three days. One dominant E. coli strain (ST88) carrying blaCTX-M-1 gene on an IncI1/pST3 plasmid was found in parent and broiler samples. We conclude that the rapid increase in ESBL-E prevalence in the first week of life is not caused by a latent contamination of the majority of birds at arrival, but that this increase must be caused by other factors.

    Species-dependent response to the influence of adaptation length during assay for metabolisable energy of cereal grains employing the difference method
    Olukosi, Oluyinka A. ; Adedokun, Sunday A. ; Agboola, Jeleel O. - \ 2017
    Animal Feed Science and Technology 231 (2017). - ISSN 0377-8401 - p. 111 - 118.
    Adaptation length - Broilers - Cereal grains - Metabolizable energy - Turkeys
    Three experiments were conducted to determine the influence of varying lengths of adaptation on metabolisable energy (AME and AMEn) content of maize and barley for broilers, turkeys and laying hens using the difference method. Three hundred and twenty-four Cobb 500 male broiler chicks (Experiment 1), 162 BUT 10 male turkey poults (Experiment 2) or 162 Lohmann brown laying hens (Experiment 3) were offered a nutrient-adequate pre-experimental diet for at least 11 days. The birds were then allocated to 9 dietary treatments (a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement of treatments) with each treatment replicated 6 times. The factors were three diet types (based on wheat-soybean meal (WS), maize-wheat-soybean meal (MWS) or barley-wheat soybean meal (BWS)) and three length of adaptation to dietary treatments (10, 7 or 4 d). The WS was the references diet whereas MWS and BWS were the assay diets. The adaptation period corresponded to 10, 7 or 4 days of feeding experimental diets prior to the end of each experiment. Excreta were collected on the last two days of each experiment. The AME of maize and barley in the assay diets, in each experiment, were calculated using difference method. On all the responses considered, there was no significant diet type × adaptation length interaction in any of the poultry species. Regardless of the poultry species, AME was greater (P < 0.05) for maize compared with barley. The AME (MJ/kg) for maize was 13.5, 13.5 and 13.6 for broilers, turkeys and laying hens, respectively whereas the corresponding AME (MJ/kg) of barley was 12.2, 11.8 and 12.6, respectively. The effect of adaptation length during AME assay was statistically significant in turkeys, tended to be significant in broilers but not significant for laying hens. It was concluded that irrespective of poultry species, the greater overriding factor affecting AME determined by the difference method is the particular feedstuff being assayed. However, length of adaptation to experimental diets during the assay becomes more important in birds with relatively physiologically immature digestive tract.
    Determination of pre-cecal phosphorus digestibility of inorganic phosphates and bone meal products in broilers
    Harn, J. van; Spek, J.W. ; Vuure, C.A. van; Krimpen, M.M. van - \ 2017
    Poultry Science 96 (2017)5. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1334 - 1340.
    Bone meal - Broilers - Digestibility - Phosphorus

    A broiler study was performed to determine the pre-cecal phosphorus (P) digestibility of 5 P sources, 3 from animal (Delfos, Calfos, and porcine bone meal) and 2 of inorganic (monocalcium phosphate [MCP] and dicalcium phosphate [DCP]) origin. Delfos is processed from bones resulting in a dicalcium phosphate product, and Calfos is processed from bones in which part of the gelatin is removed but in which the hydroxy-apatite matrix is preserved. During the first 14 d, birds were housed in floor pens bedded with wood shavings and received a commercial starter diet. At d 14, broilers were randomly assigned to pens (0.9 m2, 10 birds/pen) with a slatted floor. From d 14 onwards, one of the 6 experimental diets (a basal diet, and 5 diets containing the P sources) was provided. Test diets were replicated 6 times, and the basal diet 8 times. Electron microscopy images of test products were made in order to verify whether the spatial structure of the test products could be related to the pre-cecal P digestibility of the same products. Diets met or exceeded CVB (2011) requirements for all nutrients except for P and were formulated to contain a calcium to total P ratio of between 1.4 and 1.6 and a minimal amount of phytate P. Diets contained 5 g/kg titanium oxide as a marker to determine digestibility of P. At d 24 all birds were euthanized, after which the content of the terminal part of the ileum was sampled. The P digestibility was calculated by linear regression according to World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) protocol for determination of pre-cecal P digestibility. Pre-cecal P digestibility of MCP, DCP, Delfos, Calfos, and porcine bone meal was 88.5, 82.4, 94.5, 86.9, and 78.2%, respectively. Based on visual inspection of electron microscopy images of test products, the spatial structure of the test products might be related to P digestibility. It is concluded that processing of bone meal increases the pre-cecal P digestibility in broilers.

    Investigation of the interaction between separate calcium feeding and phytase supplementation on growth performance, calcium intake, nutrient digestibility and energy utilisation in broiler starters
    Abdollahi, M.R. ; Duangnumsawang, Y. ; Kwakkel, R.P. ; Steenfeldt, S. ; Bootwalla, S.M. ; Ravindran, V. - \ 2016
    Animal Feed Science and Technology 219 (2016). - ISSN 0377-8401 - p. 48 - 58.
    Broilers - Calcium - Nutrient digestibility - Performance - Phytase - Specific appetite

    The interaction between separate calcium (Ca) feeding and phytase supplementation on performance, coefficient of apparent ileal digestibility (CAID) of nitrogen (N), starch, fat and phosphorus (P), total tract retention (TTR) of Ca and P, and apparent metabolisable energy (AME) in broiler starters was investigated. The effect of phytase on the CAID and TTR of P in birds with access to a separate Ca source was of particular interest. Five dietary Ca concentrations (1.3, 4.3, 7.3, 10.3 and 13.3 g/kg) and two inclusion levels (0 or 1000 phytase units [FYT/kg] of feed) of a 6-phytase were evaluated in a 5 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. All diets, based on wheat and soybean meal, were formulated to be equivalent in respect of total and non-phytate P contents (5.7 and 3.0 g/kg, respectively). A total of 480, one-day-old male broilers were allocated to 48 cages (8 birds/cage), and cages were randomly assigned to 10 dietary treatments. Birds were also provided with a source of Ca in a separate feed trough. Increasing dietary Ca concentration decreased (P 0.05). Birds fed 1.3 g Ca/kg diet showed the lowest (P 0.05) to the diets with 4.3 g Ca/kg. No significant (P > 0.05) effect of dietary Ca concentration on the CAID of starch, fat and GE was found. Whilst, increasing dietary Ca concentration reduced (P 0.05) retention. There was no effect (P > 0.05) of dietary Ca on AME and toe ash. The previously reported Ca-specific appetite in modern broilers and the ‘phosphoric’ and ‘extra-phosphoric’ effects of phytase were confirmed in this study. Importantly, the current work highlighted the additive outcome of separate Ca feeding and phytase addition.

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