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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    The role of genes, epigenetics and ontogeny in behavioural development
    Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2014
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 157 (2014). - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 8 - 13.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - feather pecking behavior - laying hens - maternal-care - low mortality - offspring phenotype - zebra finches - stress - selection - cannibalism
    This review focuses on the role of genes, epigenetics and ontogeny in behavioural devel-opment of animals. The behavioural characteristics of an individual are determined by itsgenes and by its physical and social environment. Not only the individual’s early life andcurrent environment are of importance, but also the environment of previous generations.Through epigenetic processes, stress in parents and even grandparents can translate intochanges in behavioural and physical characteristics of the offspring. Another influentialfactor for behavioural development is maternal hormones. Recent studies indicate thathormonal effects may also be closely related to epigenetic changes. Also, the environmentduring ontogeny has considerable impact on behavioural development: in both mice andlaying hens, high quality maternal care resulted in animals that were less fearful. In layinghens maternal care also led to a reduction in cannibalistic pecking. Genetic selection andselection experiments will also play a key role in breeding animals for the housing systemsof the future. To optimize behavioural development of farm animals and to minimize risksof damaging behaviour, integral approaches are needed that combine selection of the opti-mal genotype with provision of a favourable environment for parents and offspring, bothduring ontogeny and later life.
    Serotonin release in the caudal nidopallium of adult laying hens genetically selected for high and low feather pecking behavior: An in vivo microdialysis study
    Kops, M.S. ; Kjaer, J.B. ; Güntürkün, O. ; Westphal, K.C.G. ; Korte-Bouws, G.A.H. ; Olivier, B. ; Bolhuis, J.E. ; Korte, S.M. - \ 2014
    Behavioural Brain Research 268 (2014). - ISSN 0166-4328 - p. 81 - 87.
    pigeon columba-livia - gallus-gallus-domesticus - dopaminergic innervation - 5-ht1a receptor - rat-brain - efferent connections - avian telencephalon - aggression - forebrain - chick
    Severe feather pecking (FP) is a detrimental behavior causing welfare problems in laying hens. Divergent genetic selection for FP in White Leghorns resulted in strong differences in FP incidences between lines. More recently, it was shown that the high FP (HFP) birds have increased locomotor activity as compared to hens of the low FP (LFP) line, but whether these lines differ in central serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) release is unknown. We compared baseline release levels of central 5-HT, and the metabolite 5-HIAA in the limbic and prefrontal subcomponents of the caudal nidopallium by in vivo microdialysis in adult HFP and LFP laying hens from the ninth generation of selection. A single subcutaneous d-fenfluramine injection (0.5 mg/kg) was given to release neuronal serotonin in order to investigate presynaptic storage capacity. The present study shows that HFP hens had higher baseline levels of 5-HT in the caudal nidopallium as compared to LFP laying hens. Remarkably, no differences in plasma tryptophan levels (precursor of 5-HT) between the lines were observed. d-fenfluramine increased 5-HT levels in both lines similarly indirectly suggesting that presynaptic storage capacity was the same. The present study shows that HFP hens release more 5-HT under baseline conditions in the caudal nidopallium as compared to the LFP birds. This suggests that HFP hens are characterized by a higher tonic 5-HT release.
    The prevention and control of feather pecking: application to commercial systems
    Nicol, C.J. ; Bestman, M. ; Gilani, A.M. ; Haas, E.N. de; Jong, I.C. de; Lampton, S. ; Wagenaar, J.P. ; Weeks, C.A. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2013
    Worlds Poultry Science Journal 69 (2013)4. - ISSN 0043-9339 - p. 775 - 788.
    housed laying hens - gallus-gallus-domesticus - housing systems - risk-factors - alternative systems - stocking density - flock size - furnished cages - light-intensity - rearing factors
    Studies on the prevalence of feather pecking in different commercial laying hen 23 systems and its welfare and economic impacts are reviewed in the following paper. 24 Current methods for controlling feather pecking include beak-trimming and alterations to light regimes, but these methods have significant disadvantages from the perspective of bird welfare. A substantial body of research has now identified risk factors for feather pecking during both the rearing and laying periods. It is argued that these findings can be translated into optimised management practices that can prevent and control feather pecking whilst simultaneously conferring welfare benefits. The genetic basis of feather pecking is considered, and studies that suggest group selection techniques could produce birds with a reduced tendency to feather peck in commercial flocks are highlighted. Keywords: laying hen; feather pecking; beak-trimming; light; risk factor; genetic selection
    Selection for low mortality in laying hens affects catecholamine levels in the arcopallium, a brain area involved in fear and motor regulation
    Kops, M.S. ; Haas, E.N. de; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Ellen, E.D. ; Korte-Bouws, G.A.H. ; Olivier, B. ; Güntürkün, O. ; Korte, S.M. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2013
    Behavioural Brain Research 257 (2013). - ISSN 0166-4328 - p. 54 - 61.
    feather pecking behavior - pigeon columba-livia - gallus-gallus-domesticus - open-field response - tyrosine-hydroxylase - prefrontal cortex - dopaminergic innervation - stereotyped behavior - multilevel selection - avian telencephalon
    Feather pecking (FP) in laying hens may cause mortality due to cannibalism. Novel breeding methods using survival days of group-housed siblings allow for the genetic selection of laying hens with low mortality (LML: low mortality line) due to cannibalism. Previous studies have demonstrated less fear-related behavior and also less FP in LML hens compared to CL. Selection also caused changes in locomotor behavior in an open field. It is unknown, however, whether selection for low mortality affects central neurotransmitter levels. In this study, brain monoamine levels were measured in the dorsal thalamus, medial striatum, hippocampus and arcopallium of adult laying hens of both LML and CL using HPLC. Brain samples were collected after 5-min of manual restraint. The most prominent line differences were found in the arcopallium. Compared to CL, LML had lower levels of noradrenaline (NA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and tended to have lower levels of dopamine (DA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). Levels of serotonin (5-HT), 5-HT- and DA-turnover in this brain area were not affected by line. LML showed less fear-related behavior during the restraint than CL. These findings show that selection for low mortality in hens leads to changes of predominantly the dopaminergic system in the chicken's arcopallium, a forebrain somatomotor area also related to fear. This suggests a relationship between catecholamine functioning in this brain area and FP and cannibalistic behavior in chickens and underpins previously found relationships between FP, fear and high activity.
    The prevention and control of feather pecking in laying hens: identifying the underlying principles
    Rodenburg, T.B. ; Krimpen, M.M. van; Jong, I.C. de; Haas, E.N. de; Kops, M.S. ; Riedstra, B.J. ; Nordquist, R.E. ; Wagenaar, J.P. ; Bestman, M.W.P. ; Nicol, C.J. - \ 2013
    Worlds Poultry Science Journal 69 (2013)2. - ISSN 0043-9339 - p. 361 - 374.
    nonstarch polysaccharide concentration - gallus-gallus-domesticus - heart-rate-variability - open-field response - rhode-island red - tonic immobility - nutrient dilution - manual restraint - eating behavior - different ages
    Feather pecking (FP) in laying hens remains an important economic and welfare issue. This paper reviews the literature on causes of FP in laying hens. With the ban on conventional cages in the EU from 2012 and the expected future ban on beak trimming in many European countries, addressing this welfare issue has become more pressing than ever. The aim of this review paper is to provide a detailed overview of underlying principles of FP. FP is affected by many different factors and any approach to prevent or reduce FP in commercial flocks should acknowledge that fact and use a multifactorial approach to address this issue. Two forms of FP can be distinguished: gentle FP and severe FP. Severe FP causes the most welfare issues in commercial flocks. Severe FP is clearly related to feeding and foraging behaviour and its development seems to be enhanced in conditions where birds have difficulty in coping with environmental stressors. Stimulating feeding and foraging behaviour by providing high-fibre diets and suitable litter from an early age onwards, and controlling fear and stress levels through genetic selection, reducing maternal stress and improving the stockmanship skills of the farmer, together offer the best prospect for preventing or controlling FP.
    Effect of substrate during early rearing on floor- and feather fecking behaviour in young and adult laying hens
    Jong, I.C. de; Gunnink, H. ; Rommers, J.M. ; Bracke, M.B.M. - \ 2013
    Archiv für Geflügelkunde 77 (2013)1. - ISSN 0003-9098 - p. 15 - 22.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - burmese red junglefowl - ground pecking - wood-shavings - cannibalism - chicks - fowl - experience - quality
    An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that providing adequate substrate to laying hens during early rearing stimulates pecking to the floor and reduces featherpecking when adult. Laying hens were either provided withwood shavings or sand from day 1 onwards or from day 21 onwards. Chicks without substrate were either reared on mesh matting or chick paper until day 21. Behaviour was observed during rearing and the production period. Moreover, feather damage was scored at the end of rearing and at 40 weeks of age. Results showed that providing substratein early rearing indeed stimulated floor pecking. At four weeks of age, more gentle feather pecking was observed when previously housed on chick paper or mesh matting as compared to continuous housing on sand or wood shavings. However, initial differences in floor- and feather peckingdisappeared with age and only some minor effects were observed at the end of rearing and during production. Atthe end of the rearing period, only the groups that were firsthoused on mesh matting and from three weeks of agehoused on sand, showed significantly more feather damage.No differences in feather damage between the treatmentswere found at 40 weeks of age. This experiment showed thatfloor pecking was stimulated in early rearing when providing substrate. Although the absence of substrate at an early age seems to stimulate gentle feather pecking in early rearing, these effects were not clearly visible at a later age. It is suggested that hens may redirect their early pecking preferenceswhen adequate pecking substrate is provided atthree weeks of age.
    A reliable method for sexing unincubated bird eggs for studying primary sex ratio
    Aslam, M.A. ; Hulst, M.M. ; Hoving-Bolink, A.H. ; Wit, A.A.C. de; Smits, M.A. ; Woelders, H. - \ 2012
    Molecular Ecology Resources 12 (2012)3. - ISSN 1755-098X - p. 421 - 427.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - chicken eggs - manipulation - fowl - corticosterone - identification - contamination - spermatozoa - incubation - investment
    In birds, offspring sex ratio manipulation by mothers is now well established with potentially important consequences for evolution and animal breeding. In most studies on primary sex ratio of birds, eggs are sexed after incubation by the use of PCR methods targeted to the sex-linked CHD1 genes. Sexing of unincubated eggs would be preferred, but as fertile and infertile blastodiscs cannot be distinguished macroscopically, errors could arise from PCR amplifications of parental DNA associated with the vitelline membrane of infertile eggs. In this study, we stained blastodiscs without the vitelline membrane with Hoechst 33342. This allowed unequivocal distinction between fertile and infertile blastodiscs. Fertile blastodiscs contained thousands of fluorescent nuclei, whereas no nuclei were seen in infertile eggs. In addition, after nucleic acid analysis, fertile blastodiscs yielded much stronger chromosomal DNA and CHD1-targeted PCR bands on agarose gels compared with infertile blastodiscs. These findings indicate that fertile blastodiscs contain much more embryonic DNA than parental DNA, allowing reliable sexing of the fertile eggs. The differences between fertile and infertile blastodiscs in chromosomal DNA and CHD1 PCR banding intensities alone could also be used to distinguish fertile from infertile eggs without using Hoechst staining. We conclude that identifying fertile blastodiscs either by Hoechst staining or by analyzing the yield of chromosomal DNA and CHD1-PCR products, combined with CHD1-targeted PCR amplification, presents an easy and reliable method to sex unincubated eggs.
    Behaviour of domestic fowl in anticipation of positive and negative stimuli
    Zimmerman, P.H. ; Buijs, S.A.F. ; Bolhuis, J.E. ; Keeling, L.J. - \ 2011
    Animal Behaviour 81 (2011)3. - ISSN 0003-3472 - p. 569 - 577.
    different coping characteristics - gallus-gallus-domesticus - laying hens - comfort behavior - animal-welfare - furnished cages - laboratory rats - rattus-norvegicus - stocking density - stress
    Underlying the study of animal welfare is the assumption that animals experience emotional states. Although there has been a bias towards studying negative emotions, research into positive emotions is necessary for an overall welfare assessment. The aim of the current study was to find behavioural expressions specific for anticipation of different events in domestic fowl, Gallus gallus omesticus. To this aim, we used a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm by which we induced anticipation of a positive, neutral and negative event. We investigated whether birds were able to discriminate between sound cues signalling these events with different valences and, if so, whether anticipation of different events is reflected in different behavioural responses. The birds showed a response of increased attention to all sound cues. In anticipation of the negative event, the birds showed more head movements and locomotion than in anticipation of both the neutral and positive event, possibly reflecting the aversive nature of the negative event. In anticipation of the positive event, the birds showed more comfort behaviours, such as preening and wing flapping, which have been associated with a state of relaxation. Our study shows that laying hens are able to anticipate differentially a positive, neutral and negative event announced by different sound cues. It is also the first study to identify comfort behaviours as specifically associated with anticipation of a positive event in domestic fowl. Comfort behaviours may therefore be associated with a positive emotional state in domestic fowl.
    The role of volatiles in aggregation and host-seeking of the haematophagous poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Dermanyssidae)
    Koenraadt, C.J.M. ; Dicke, M. - \ 2010
    Experimental and Applied Acarology 50 (2010)3. - ISSN 0168-8162 - p. 191 - 199.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - carbon-dioxide - chicken - identification - temperatures - attractants - infections - pheromones - mosquitos - responses
    Infestations with ectoparasitic poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) pose an increasing threat to poultry health and welfare. Because of resistance to acaricides and higher scrutiny of poultry products, alternative and environmentally safe management strategies are warranted. Therefore, we investigated how volatile cues shape the behavior of D. gallinae and how this knowledge may be exploited in the development of an attractand- kill method to control mite populations. A Y-tube olfactometer bio-assay was used to evaluate choices of mites in response to cues related to conspecific mites as well as related to their chicken host. Both recently fed and starved mites showed a strong preference (84 and 85%, respectively) for volatiles from conspecific, fed mites as compared to a control stream of clean air. Mites were also significantly attracted to ‘aged feathers’ (that had remained in the litter for 3–4 days), but not to ‘fresh feathers’. Interestingly, an air stream containing 2.5% CO2, which mimics the natural concentration in air exhaled by chickens, did attract fed mites, but inhibited the attraction of unfed mites towards volatiles from aged feathers. We conclude that both mite-related cues (aggregation pheromones) and host-related cues (kairomones) mediate the behavior of the poultry mite. We discuss the options to exploit this knowledge as the ‘attract’ component of attract-and-kill strategies for the control of D. gallinae
    Influence of farm factors on the occurrence of feather pecking in organic reared hens and their predictability for feather pecking in the laying period
    Bestman, M.W.P. ; Koene, P. ; Wagenaar, J.P. - \ 2009
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 121 (2009)2. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 120 - 125.
    pluimveehouderij - verenpikken - biologische landbouw - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - poultry farming - feather pecking - organic farming - farm management - gallus-gallus-domesticus - rearing factors - floor type - cannibalism - behavior - density - chicks - prevalence - management - exposure
    Feather pecking is one of the most obvious welfare problems in laying hens. It is seen in all types of housing systems. Although banned in some countries, beak trimming is generally used to reduce the damage caused by this behaviour. In organic farming, where beak trimming is prohibited, the animals are being kept in a less intensive way than in conventional farming in order to improve their welfare. However, feather pecking is also seen in organic laying hens. Generally, rearing circumstances play an important role in the development of this behaviour. Therefore, rearing flocks were monitored for feather pecking and the relations between rearing factors and feather pecking at a young and at an adult age were analysed. Also the correlation between feather pecking during the rearing period and feather pecking during adult life was studied. Twenty-eight commercial flocks of rearing hens were monitored. These flocks split into 51 flocks of laying hens. Flocks were scored for signs of feather damage during rearing at the ages of 7, 12, and 16 weeks and on the laying farms at 30 weeks. On the rearing as well as the laying farm, data were collected on the housing system. Logistic regression was used to analyse our data. Feather damage was seen in 13 out of 24 (54%) of rearing flocks. Logistic regression showed that a higher number of pullets being kept per square meter in the first 4 weeks of life were associated with feather damage during the rearing period (Chi square = 8.49, df = 1, p = 0.004). Moreover, the combination of not having litter at the age of 1–4 weeks and the absence of daylight at the age of 7–17 weeks was a significant predictor of feather damage during the laying period (Chi square = 13.89, df = 4, p = 0.008). In 71% of the cases that pullets did not show feather pecking damage during rearing, they did not show feather pecking damage in the laying period either. When flocks of pullets did show feather damage, in 90% of the cases they did so during adult life. These results lead to suggestions on how to improve the rearing conditions of laying hens and increase their welfare not only during rearing but also during later life. Although the observations were done on organic farms, the results can be applied for other non-cage systems too.
    The effects of selection on low mortality and brooding by a mother hen on open-field response, feather pecking and cannibalism in laying hens
    Rodenburg, T.B. ; Uitdehaag, K.A. ; Ellen, E.D. ; Komen, J. - \ 2009
    Animal Welfare 18 (2009)4. - ISSN 0962-7286 - p. 427 - 432.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - 2 different ages - ground-pecking - behavior - chicks - lines - fear - poultry
    The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of selection on low mortality in combination with brooding by a mother hen on open-field response at 5-6 weeks of age and on plumage and body condition at 42 weeks of age. Birds in the experiment were either selected for low mortality in group housing (low mortality line) or randomly selected (control line) for two generations. These lines originated from the same population. Twenty groups of 10 female birds from each line were used. Within each line, ten groups were brooded by a foster mother and ten groups were non-brooded. At 5-6 weeks of age, the chicks were tested in an open-field test for five minutes. At 42 weeks of age, plumage condition and incidence of comb lesions and toe wounds of all birds was recorded. It was found that both brooded chicks and chicks from the low mortality line were more active in the open-field test at 5-6 weeks of age, indicating that they were less fearful or had a stronger exploratory motivation. No interactions were found between selection on low mortality and brooding. Birds from the low mortality line also had a lower incidence of comb and toe wounds compared with the control line at 42 weeks of age. No effect of brooding on plumage condition or incidence of wounds was found. This study indicates that selection on low mortality is a promising way forward to reduce maladaptive behaviour in laying hens, especially if such an approach is combined with improved rearing conditions
    Feather damaging behaviour in parrots: A review with consideration of comparative aspects
    Zeeland, Y.R.A. van; Spruit, B.M. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Riedstra, B. ; Hierden, Y.M. van; Buitenhuis, A.J. ; Korte, S.M. ; Lumeij, J.T. - \ 2009
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 121 (2009)2. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 75 - 95.
    obsessive-compulsive disorder - gallus-gallus-domesticus - young amazon parrots - regulates neuroendocrine responses - reuptake inhibitor citalopram - different social conditions - quantitative trait loci - open-field response - laying hen chicks - 2 different age
    Feather damaging behaviour (also referred to as feather picking or feather plucking) is a behavioural disorder that is frequently encountered in captive parrots. This disorder has many characteristics that are similar to trichotillomania, an impulse control disorder in humans. Unfortunately, to date much of the information regarding the aetiology and treatment in both syndromes is based on ‘expert’ opinion rather than on experimentally founded results. Comparative research in humans and parrots might therefore be mutually beneficial. Feather damaging behaviour (FDB) may also share similarities with behavioural disorders present in other bird species. Feather pecking (FP) in poultry is of particular interest in this case. Because of the major impacts on welfare and economy, the disorder has been thoroughly investigated. It has been shown that genetic, socio-environmental and neurobiological factors all play a role in FP. Several theories have been postulated about the different motivational systems that affect the behaviour, of which (redirected) foraging appears to be the most generally accepted. FDB may result from similar motivations and underlying mechanisms, but has also been regarded as a grooming disorder. Grooming or preening is behaviour that serves both physical and social purposes. In the presence of stressors, such as novelty, so-called displacement grooming may develop that can result in excessive grooming when chronic stress is experienced (maladaptive behaviour). Adrenocorticotropic hormone, opiate, dopaminergic and serotoninergic systems have been shown to influence the onset, development and maintenance of this behaviour. Primary brain dysfunction (malfunctional behaviour) may also explain the occurrence of various abnormal behaviours. Differences in neurotransmitter levels and distribution have been found between high and low feather pecking lines of laying hens, and psychopharmacological interventions in humans and parrots suggest similar alterations. The exact pathways via which neurotransmitters influence the execution of these behaviours have not been identified. It is also not clear which brain areas are involved in this dysfunction, and why the behaviour sometimes persists despite intervention. For these purposes it is important to consider the current system-level insights on different types of abnormal repetitive behaviour, to which these disorders may be classified
    Selection method and early-life history affect behavioural development, feather pecking and cannibalism in laying hens: A review
    Rodenburg, T.B. ; Komen, J. ; Ellen, E.D. ; Uitdehaag, K.A. ; Arendonk, J.A.M. van - \ 2008
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 110 (2008)3-4. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 217 - 228.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - open-field response - 2 different ages - maternal testosterone - multilevel selection - tonic immobility - light-intensity - ground-pecking - genetic lines - social-status
    The aim of this review is to discuss the effects of selection method and early-life history on the behavioural development of laying hens. Especially in larger groups, laying hens often develop damaging behaviours, such as feather pecking and cannibalism, leading to impaired animal welfare. We hypothesise that the propensity to develop feather pecking and cannibalism is affected by a bird's genetic background and by its early-life history. The genetic background can be influenced by genetic selection. Laying hens are traditionally selected on individual performance, which may lead to co-selection of feather pecking and cannibalism. For hens kept in small groups, it has recently been demonstrated that a novel group selection method, focusing on group performance, can help to reduce cannibalism. However, the biological background behind the success of group selection is unknown. It is also not known whether these results from small groups can be translated to larger groups of laying hens. Regarding early-life history, laying, brooding and rearing conditions have been shown to have major effects on behavioural development and on feather pecking and cannibalism. The presence of a hen during rearing has been shown to improve foraging- and social behaviour, to decrease feather pecking and to decrease fearfulness in chicks. Applying group selection and rearing laying hens in a more natural environment may be key factors in solving the problems caused by feather pecking and cannibalism, especially if the promising results of group selection from small groups in experimental settings can be translated to large-group housing systems.
    Effect of Single or Combined Climatic and Hygienic Stress in Four Layer Lines: 2. Endocrine and Oxidative Stress Responses
    Star, L. ; Decuypere, E. ; Parmentier, H.K. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2008
    Poultry Science 87 (2008)6. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1031 - 1038.
    humoral immune competence - gallus-gallus-domesticus - broiler-chickens - heat exposure - plasma-hormone - food-intake - corticosterone - growth - triiodothyronine - stimulation
    Effects of long-term climatic stress (heat exposure), short-term hygienic stress [lipopolysaccharide (LPS)], or combined exposure to these stressors on endocrine and oxidative stress parameters of 4 layer lines (B1, WA, WB, and WF) were investigated. The lines were earlier characterized for natural humoral immune competence and survival rate. Eighty hens per line were randomly divided over 2 identical climate chambers and exposed to constant high temperature (32°C) or a control temperature (21°C) for 23 d. Half of the hens housed in each chamber were i.v. injected with LPS at d 1 after the start of the heat stress period. The effect of heat, LPS, or combined exposure on plasma levels of corticosterone, 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3), glucose, uric acid (UA), and TBA reacting substances (TBARS) were investigated. Except for UA, there were no interactions between heat stress and LPS administration. Heat stress enhanced levels of corticosterone, glucose, and TBARS, whereas levels of T3 and UA were decreased. The T3 levels, however, were enhanced by LPS administration, whereas levels of UA were decreased. Administration of LPS had no effect on levels of corticosterone and TBARS. Because both stressors caused a reduction in feed intake, it is assumed that changes in most of the plasma levels of the endocrine and oxidative stress parameters are related with the reduction in feed intake. Neither natural humoral immune competence nor survival rate, for which the lines have been characterized, was indicative for the endocrine and oxidative stress responses to different stressors. The present data suggest that hens were able to cope with single or combined heat stress and LPS administration and that heat stress and LPS administration acted like 2 independent stressors. Furthermore, the 4 layer lines differed in response patterns and response levels; line WB was physiologically most sensitive to environmental changes.
    The impact of group size on damaging behaviours, aggression, fear and stress in farm animals
    Rodenburg, T.B. ; Koene, P. - \ 2007
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 103 (2007)3-4. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 205 - 214.
    feather-pecking behavior - gallus-gallus-domesticus - open-field response - 2 different ages - laying hens - tonic immobility - phenotypic correlations - social discrimination - alternative systems - genetic-variation
    The aim of this review is to discuss the impact of group size on damaging behaviours, aggression, fear and stress in farm animals and to identify housing- and management options that can help to reduce problems caused by suboptimal group sizes. Increasing group size was found to increase the risk of damaging behaviour, such as feather pecking in laying hens and vulva biting in sows. Aggression does not appear to be a problem in large groups, because dominance relationships in these groups are not based on individual recognition, but based on other signals such as body size, avoiding costly fights. There is evidence for increased fear and stress levels in large groups compared with small groups, but fearfulness is also strongly affected by type of housing. To minimise problems in large groups, is seems helpful to offer separate functional areas and to provide cover, reducing disturbance between animals. To minimise the risk of damaging behaviour, such as feather pecking in laying hens and tail biting in pigs, stimulating foraging, exploration and manipulation behaviour by providing sufficient substrate (straw, wood shavings and sand) offers perspective. Rearing the animals in a system which allows the development of all these behaviours is very important. Other solutions can be found in optimising the diet and offering extra foraging opportunities. Furthermore, genetic selection against damaging behaviour seems promising. In conclusion, group size mainly has an effect on damaging behaviour and fear and stress in pigs and poultry. The effect on aggressive behaviour is limited. To reduce damaging behaviour, fear and stress, it is important to provide a complex environment with ample behavioural opportunities and separate functional areas.
    Ontogeny of avian thermoregulation from a neural point of view
    Baarendse, P.J.J. ; Debonne, M. ; Decuypere, M.P. ; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2007
    Worlds Poultry Science Journal 63 (2007). - ISSN 0043-9339 - p. 267 - 276.
    brain temperature regulation - neuronal hypothalamic thermosensitivity - gallus-gallus-domesticus - early postnatal-period - male broiler-chickens - early-age - thermal manipulations - anas-platyrhynchos - precocial birds - muscovy duck
    The ontogeny of thermoregulation differs among (avian) species, but in all species both neural and endocrinological processes are involved. In this review the neural processes in ontogeny of thermoregulation during the prenatal and early postnatal phase are discussed. Only in a few avian species (chicken, ducklings) the ontogeny of some important neural structures are described. In the early post hatching phase, peripheral and deep-body thermoreceptors are present and functional, even in altricial species, in which the thermoregulation is still immature at hatch. It is suggested that the development of peripheral and deep-body thermoreceptors is not responsible for the inability to maintain a stable body temperature at cold ambient temperatures during early postnatal phase, although studies examined the ontogeny of thermoreception only in an indirect manner. Thus, other factors, such as volume to surface ratio and rate of insulation are important. Studies regarding the ontogeny of hypothalamic cold- and warm-sensitivity neurons in precocial species demonstrate that maturation of the hypothalamic temperature sensitivity takes place during the late prenatal and early postnatal period, with a relatively high cold sensitivity of the hypothalamus during the transition from poikilotherm to homeotherm. In addition, incubation temperatures are demonstrated to influence postnatal hypothalamic thermosensitivity. Brain temperature regulation is found to maturate during avian ontogeny as well and is demonstrated to coincide with the ontogenic pattern of general thermoregulation in several avian species. Relevant information of the ontogeny of the spinal cord and effector pathways related to the development of avian thermoregulation is lacking. We concluded that both prenatal and early postnatal temperature affects hypothalamic thermosensitivity and consequently condition thermoregulation in later life.
    Erratum to: Mapping quantative trait loci affecting feather pecking behaviour and stress response in laying hens
    Buitenhuis, A.J. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Hierden, Y.M. van; Siwek-Gapinska, M.Z. ; Cornelissen, S.J.B. ; Nieuwland, M.G.B. ; Crooijmans, R.P.M.A. ; Groenen, M.A.M. ; Koene, P. ; Korte, S.M. ; Bovenhuis, H. ; Poel, J.J. van der - \ 2006
    Poultry Science 85 (2006)6. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1115 - 1116.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - diallel cross - corticosterone - chicks - lines - pigs - igf2 - catecholamine - restraint - selection
    In the European Union, legislation concerning animal housing is becoming stricter because of animal welfare concerns. Feather pecking (FP) in large group housing systems is a major problem. It has been suggested that corticosterone (CORT) response to manual restraint as a measure for stress is associated with FP behavior. The aim of the current study was to identify QTL involved in FP behavior and stress response in laying hens. An F-2 population of 630 hens was established from a cross between two commercial lines of laying hens differing in their propensity to feather peck. The behavioral traits, measured at 6 and 30 wk of age, were gentle FP, severe FP, and aggressive pecking. Toe pecking was measured at 30 wk of age and CORT response to manual restraint was measured at 32 wk. All animals were genotyped for 180 microsatellite markers. A QTL analysis was performed using a regression interval mapping method. At 6 wk of age, a suggestive QTL on GGA10 was detected for gentle FP. At 30 wk of age, suggestive QTL were detected on GGA1 and GGA2 for gentle FP. A significant QTL was detected on GGA2 for severe FP. At 32 wk of age, a suggestive QTL was detected on GGA18 for CORT response to manual restraint. In addition, a suggestive QTL was detected on GGA5 with possible maternal parent-of-origin effect for CORT response.
    Can short-term frustration facilitate feather pecking in laying hens?
    Rodenburg, T.B. ; Koene, P. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Bos, M.E.H. ; Uitdehaag, K.A. ; Spruijt, B.M. - \ 2005
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 91 (2005)1-2. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 85 - 101.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - induced aggression - different ages - behavior - chicks - fowl - line - heritability - cannibalism - food
    Feather pecking is a major problem in laying hens. Frustration, i.e. the omission of expected reward, may play a role in the development of feather pecking. In two experiments, we studied if feather pecking could be facilitated by short-term frustration in birds with a high feather pecking phenotype and victims of feather pecking (experiment 1), and in birds with a high or low feather pecking genotype (experiment 2). Furthermore, the motivation to peck a key for a food reward was assessed in birds with a high or low feather pecking genotype in experiment 3, as birds that have a stronger motivation may also react stronger to the omission of a reward. We trained birds to peck a key for a food reward in an automated Skinnerbox and tested them in control and frustration sessions. During frustration, the feeder was covered with Perspex. Frustration did not facilitate feather pecking in either experiment. In experiment 1, birds with a high feather pecking phenotype did show more gentle feather pecking and aggressive pecking than victims of feather pecking during some of the control sessions. Furthermore, victims of feather pecking vocalised more than birds with a high feather pecking phenotype. In experiment 2, birds with a high feather pecking genotype scratched more than birds with a low feather pecking genotype, indicating differences in motivation for foraging or dust-bathing behaviour, which shows a relation to feather pecking. Birds with a low feather pecking genotype also had a stronger motivation to peck at a key for a food reward than birds with a high feather pecking genotype. No evidence was found that feather pecking could be facilitated by short-term frustration in a Skinnerbox. However, differences in reaction to frustration and in motivation to peck a key for a food reward in birds with a high or low feather pecking phenotype or genotype indicate that frustration may still play a role in the development of feather pecking.
    Motivation and ability to walk for a food reward in fast- and slow-growing broilers to 12 weeks of age
    Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Koene, P. - \ 2004
    Behavioural Processes 67 (2004)2. - ISSN 0376-6357 - p. 121 - 130.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - laying hen - behavior - chickens - responses - lameness - sex
    Poor physical abilities of broilers may prevent them from performing behaviours for which they are motivated. The aim of this study was to measure the influence of physical ability and motivation on the performance of broilers in short physical tasks. We tested birds from a fast- and a slow-growing broiler strain in a runway to 12 weeks of age. To manipulate motivation, half of the birds of each strain was feed deprived for 3 h and the other half for 24 h before testing. Each bird was tested in a control and a slalom runway test once a week. With a similar motivation, slow growers had a shorter latency to start walking and walked faster through the runway than fast growers in both tests. In fast growers walking speed decreased faster with age than in slow growers. Slow growers vocalised more in both tests. In the slalom test, 24 h deprived birds vocalised more than 3 h deprived birds. Although the fast and slow growers have a different genetic background, the results indicated that motivation is the dominant determinative factor for walking in birds with a low body weight, while physical ability is the dominant determinative factor for walking in birds with a high body weight.
    Mapping quantative trait loci affecting feather pecking behaviour and stress response in laying hens
    Buitenhuis, A.J. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Hierden, Y.M. van; Siwek-Gapinska, M.Z. ; Cornelissen, S.J.B. ; Nieuwland, M.G.B. ; Crooijmans, R.P.M.A. ; Groenen, M.A.M. ; Koene, P. ; Korte, S.M. ; Bovenhuis, H. ; Poel, J.J. van der - \ 2003
    Poultry Science 82 (2003)8. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1215 - 1222.
    gallus-gallus-domesticus - diallel cross - corticosterone - chicks - lines - pigs - igf2 - catecholamine - restraint - selection
    In the European Union, legislation concerning animal housing is becoming stricter because of animal welfare concerns. Feather pecking (FP) in large group housing systems is a major problem. It has been suggested that corticosterone (CORT) response to manual restraint as a measure for stress is associated with FP behavior. The aim of the current study was to identify QTL involved in FP behavior and stress response in laying hens. An F-2 population of 630 hens was established from a cross between two commercial lines of laying hens differing in their propensity to feather peck. The behavioral traits, measured at 6 and 30 wk of age, were gentle FP, severe FP, and aggressive pecking. Toe pecking was measured at 30 wk of age and CORT response to manual restraint was measured at 32 wk. All animals were genotyped for 180 microsatellite markers. A QTL analysis was performed using a regression interval mapping method. At 6 wk of age, a suggestive QTL on GGA10 was detected for gentle FP. At 30 wk of age, suggestive QTL were detected on GGA1 and GGA2 for gentle FP. A significant QTL was detected on GGA2 for severe FP. At 32 wk of age, a suggestive QTL was detected on GGA18 for CORT response to manual restraint. In addition, a suggestive QTL was detected on GGA5 with possible maternal parent-of-origin effect for CORT response.
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