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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    Herders and livestock professionals' experiences and perceptions on developments and challenges in yak farming in Bhutan
    Dorji, Nedup ; Derks, Marjolein ; Dorji, Phub ; Groot Koerkamp, Peter W.G. ; Bokkers, Eddie A.M. - \ 2020
    Animal Production Science (2020). - ISSN 1836-0939
    policy - welfare

    Context: The yak-based transhumant system is influenced by socioeconomic developments, regulations and environmental changes. Little is known about the impact of this on yak farming practices among different regions in Bhutan. Aim and methods: The experienced changes in yak farming practices over the years and perceptions on developments were assessed through interviews with yak herders in three regions (west, n = 22; central, n = 20; east, n = 25) and with livestock extensionists (n = 28). Key results: At present, forage shortage in the rangeland, yak mortality mainly due to (endangered) wild predators and, to a lesser extent, labour availability are the main concerns in all yak farming regions. These concerns have increased due to socioeconomic developments (e.g. education and other sources of income) and strong conservation policy, which affects the living environment of the yaks. Overall, the market to sell yak products and livestock extension services has improved, but forage shortage and yak mortality has increased over the years. However, some factors causing forage shortage are more specific to certain regions, e.g. competition with the horse population (west), cattle and cattle-yak hybrids (east), cordyceps collection (west and central) and prohibited burning of rangelands (central and east). Family labour available to herd yaks has slightly decreased, and the number of young family members (successors) to take over yak farming has decreased over the years. Conclusions: On the basis of the experiences and perceptions of yak herders and extensionists, we conclude that increasing forage shortage in the rangelands, decreasing numbers of successors, and increasing yak predation by wild animals are the major threats to yak farming. Implications: This study demonstrates that yak farming in Bhutan experiences an increasing pressure to sustain. Differences between regions make clear that a one blanket-policy will not be effective to preserve yak farming for the future.

    Effects of on-farm and traditional hatching on welfare, health, and performance of broiler chickens
    Jong, Ingrid C. de; Hattum, Theo van; Riel, Johan W. van; Baere, Kris De; Kempen, Ine ; Cardinaels, Sofie ; Gunnink, Henk - \ 2020
    Poultry Science (2020). - ISSN 0032-5791
    broiler - health - on-farm hatching - production - welfare

    In on-farm hatching systems, eggs that have been incubated for 18 D are transported to the broiler farm. After hatching around day 21, the chicks have immediate access to feed and water. By contrast, traditionally hatched chicks are in early life exposed to dust and pathogens in the hatcher, handling procedures, and transport and remain without feed and water until they have arrived on the farm 1 to 3 D after hatching. We compared welfare and performance of on-farm hatched (OH) and traditionally hatched control (C) Ross 308 broiler chickens from day 0 to 40, housed under semicommercial conditions. The experiment included 3 production cycles in 4 rooms, with each room containing 1 OH and 1 C pen with 1,150 chickens in each pen. Per cycle, C and OH chicks were from the same batch of eggs of 1 parent stock flock. Day-old chick quality was worse for OH than C chickens (hock and navel score; P < 0.05). On-farm hatched chickens were heavier than C chickens until day 21 of age (P < 0.05). Total mortality was significantly lower in OH compared with C pens (P < 0.05). A tendency for lower footpad dermatitis scores was found in OH pens compared with C pens (P < 0.10), probably because of the dryer litter in OH than C pens (P < 0.05). No differences between treatments were found in gait, hock burn, cleanliness, and injury scores, and no or only minor, short lasting differences were found in pathology and intestinal histology. In conclusion, the present study showed that on-farm hatching may be beneficial for broiler welfare, as it reduced total mortality and resulted in dryer litter which is known to be beneficial for reducing footpad dermatitis.

    Aerobic swimming in intensive finfish aquaculture : applications for production, mitigation and selection
    McKenzie, David J. ; Palstra, Arjan P. ; Planas, Josep ; MacKenzie, Simon ; Bégout, Marie Laure ; Thorarensen, Helgi ; Vandeputte, Marc ; Mes, Daan ; Rey, Sonia ; Boeck, Gudrun De; Domenici, Paolo ; Skov, Peter V. - \ 2020
    Reviews in Aquaculture (2020). - ISSN 1753-5123
    aerobic exercise - growth - maturation - selection - stress - welfare

    We review knowledge on applications of sustained aerobic swimming as a tool to promote productivity and welfare of farmed fish species. There has been extensive interest in whether providing active species with a current to swim against can promote growth. The results are not conclusive but the studies have varied in species, life stage, swimming speed applied, feeding regime, stocking density and other factors. Therefore, much remains to be understood about mechanisms underlying findings of ‘swimming-enhanced growth’, in particular to demonstrate that swimming can improve feed conversion ratio and dietary protein retention under true aquaculture conditions. There has also been research into whether swimming can alleviate chronic stress, once again on a range of species and life stages. The evidence is mixed but swimming does improve recovery from acute stresses such as handling or confinement. Research into issues such as whether swimming can improve immune function and promote cognitive function is still at an early stage and should be encouraged. There is promising evidence that swimming can inhibit precocious sexual maturation in some species, so studies should be broadened to other species where precocious maturation is a problem. Swimming performance is a heritable trait and may prove a useful selection tool, especially if it is related to overall robustness. More research is required to better understand the advantages that swimming may provide to the fish farmer, in terms of production, mitigation and selection.

    Are dual-purpose hens less fearful than conventional layer hybrids?
    Giersberg, Mona Franziska ; Spindler, Birgit ; Kemper, Nicole - \ 2020
    Veterinary Record 187 (2020)5. - ISSN 0042-4900
    behaviour - husbandry - laying hens - welfare

    Background: Excessive fear in farm animals can lead to chronic stress and thus impair animal welfare. In laying hens, fear responses in several behavioural tests have also been associated with the occurrence of feather pecking. The aim of the present study was to comparatively assess fear-related responses of conventional layer hybrids (Lohmann Brown plus, LB+) and dual-purpose hens (Lohmann Dual, LD), which seem to be less prone to injurious pecking. Methods: A novel object (NO) and an avoidance distance (AD) test were carried out in both hybrids at a group level and at different ages during the laying period in order to measure their fear-related responses. Results: On most study days, more LD hens approached the NO and they approached it sooner than the LB+ hens. Similarly, the LD hens retreated at smaller distances from a human being in the AD test. Conclusion: The results indicate that dual-purpose hens act less fearful in the performed behavioural tests compared with conventional layer hybrids. Therefore, dual-purpose hens might experience less stress during daily management routines, which would affect animal welfare positively.

    Symposium review : Future of housing for dairy cattle
    Galama, P.J. ; Ouweltjes, W. ; Endres, M.I. ; Sprecher, J.R. ; Leso, L. ; Kuipers, A. ; Klopčič, M. - \ 2020
    Journal of Dairy Science 103 (2020)6. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 5759 - 5772.
    dairy cattle - environment - housing - innovation - welfare

    The objective of this review was to describe recent changes and expected developments in housing systems for dairy cows. These new developments should create an appropriate production environment for modern high-producing dairy cows and stimulate dairy farming-related developments in management, agro-technology, and equipment. Increased labor efficiency has been an important driver of the change from tie-stall barns to cubicle barns (also known as freestall barns). In future housing systems, the natural behavior of cows, climate control, emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gases, reuse of waste, manure quality, the aesthetics of buildings in the landscape, and capital efficiency are becoming increasingly important elements. To address future requirements, new concepts beyond cubicle barns must be developed. Freewalk housing systems; that is, loose housing systems without cubicles, would meet some of these future demands. These systems operate with composting bedding material or artificial permeable floors as lying and walking areas. However, these barns are still in development. Combinations of cubicle and freewalk housing systems, together with other techniques being developed, might become a major future housing system. Other techniques and systems that are being explored according to sustainability criteria include the multi-climate shed, the CowToilet (Hanskamp AgroTech, Doetinchem, the Netherlands) to separate feces and urine, and multifunctional buildings. These buildings and techniques can be part of land-based or, less commonly, city-based farming systems, such as floating farms.

    Symposium review: Animal welfare in free-walk systems in Europe
    Blanco-Penedo, Isabel ; Ouweltjes, Wijbrand ; Ofner-Schröck, Elfriede ; Brügemann, Kerstin ; Emanuelson, Ulf - \ 2020
    Journal of Dairy Science 103 (2020)6. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 5773 - 5782.
    alternative housing - compost-bedded pack - dairy cow - welfare

    Providing more space per animal, soft bedding, and free roaming in animal housing systems is widely presumed to be beneficial for the welfare of the animals. This observational study aimed to investigate the basis of this assumption in free-walk housing systems (FWS) for dairy cows in Europe. The dairy cattle Welfare Quality assessment protocol was adapted for application to FWS, and the focus was on animal-based measures, from individual cow scoring to comfort around resting. The study was conducted on 41 farms [21 FWS and 20 cubicle housing (CH)] from 6 European countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and Sweden) displaying a variety of management systems. A total of 4,036 animals were scored. We found differences in animal welfare under different management conditions. The hindquarters and lower hind legs of cows from FWS were dirtier than those of cows in CH, but we found no difference in the dirtiness of udders or teats. Cows from FWS showed fewer hairless patches in all body areas except the neck; fewer lesions in the lower hind legs and hindquarters; and less swelling in the lower hind legs, flanks, and carpus than cows from CH. The prevalence of sound cows appeared to be higher in FWS, and moderate lameness prevalence was lower compared with CH. We found no difference in the prevalence of severe lameness between systems. We conducted a total of 684 observation sessions of comfort around resting, consisting of 830 lying down and 849 rising up movements. Cows in FWS took less time to lie down, had less difficulty rising up, and had fewer collisions with the environment during both behaviors than cows in CH. Cows lay partly or completely outside the supposed lying area less frequently in FWS than in CH. Cows in FWS adopted comfortable lying positions more often compared with CH, showing a higher occurrence of long and wide positions than cows in CH. Short positions were more common in FWS, and narrow positions were slightly more common in CH. We found large variations in animal-based measures between study herds and within housing systems. However, the observed patterns associated with each system demonstrated differences in cow scoring and comfort around resting. This study shows that a wide range of good and bad management practices exist in FWS, especially related to cow hygiene.

    Associations between carcass weight uniformity and production measures on farm and at slaughter in commercial broiler flocks
    Vasdal, Guro ; Granquist, Erik Georg ; Skjerve, Eystein ; Jong, Ingrid C. de; Berg, Charlotte ; Michel, Virginie ; Moe, Randi Oppermann - \ 2019
    Poultry Science 98 (2019)10. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 4261 - 4268.
    chicken - health - indicator - poultry - welfare

    In poultry flocks, flock weight uniformity is often defined as the percent individuals within 10% of the mean body weight (BW) and the variability of this uniformity can be expressed as the CV of BW. Flock weight uniformity is a standardized and objective measured, and could potentially be used as a welfare indicator; however, little is known about the relationship between flock uniformity and other production measures on-farm or at slaughter. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between carcass weight uniformity (CV of BW) and production measures on-farm and at slaughter in Norwegian commercial broiler flocks. A total of 45 randomly selected mixed-sex Ross 308 broiler flocks were visited prior to slaughter at 28 to 30 D of age (average slaughter age 30.6 D). All flocks were raised under similar farm management systems. The Welfare Quality protocol for broilers was used to assess different animal welfare indicators in each flock. All production data from the slaughterhouse were collected for each flock, including carcass weight uniformity (%), mortality (%), growth rate (g), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and rejected birds (%) in different rejection categories. Univariable and multivariable linear regression models were used to investigate the associations between flock weight uniformity and production and welfare measures. The results showed that flock uniformity varied from 11% to 18% between flocks within the same hybrid, similar management standards, and similar slaughter age (day 29 to 32). Poorer uniformity (i.e., high CV) was associated with increased first week mortality (P < 0.004, r = 1.48, increased total mortality (P < 0.013, r = 0.01), increased FCR (i.e., less efficient growth) (P < 0.024, r = 0.06), reduced growth rate (P < 0.0012, r = -0.01), and a reduced rejection rate at slaughter (P < 0.006, r = -0.01). The results show that flock uniformity varies across broiler flocks, and is associated with several production measures.

    Associations between colostrum management, passive immunity, calf-related hygiene practices, and rates of mortality in preweaning dairy calves
    Barry, J. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Berry, D.P. ; Boer, I.J.M. de; McClure, J. ; Kennedy, E. - \ 2019
    Journal of Dairy Science 102 (2019)11. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 10266 - 10276.
    bull calves - commercial farms - health - serum immunoglobulin G - welfare

    Calves are particularly vulnerable to health issues before weaning and experience high rates of mortality. Poor colostrum quality or substandard colostrum management, combined with poor hygiene, can increase disease susceptibility, contributing to elevated mortality rates. This study aimed to assess colostrum and calf management together with subsequent mortality rates in preweaning calves. Forty-seven Irish spring-calving, pasture-based dairy herds were enrolled in the study. To investigate whether colostrum and hygiene practices change as the calving season progresses, each farm was visited in both the first and last 6 wk of the calving season. The concentration of IgG in 250 colostrum samples and 580 calf serum samples was determined by radial immunodiffusion assay. Mean colostrum IgG concentration was 85 mg/mL, and mean calf serum IgG concentration was 30.9 and 27.1 mg/mL, respectively, in the first and last 6 wk of the calving season. Smaller herd size and younger age at sampling were associated with higher calf serum IgG concentration. Dairy breed calves were associated with higher serum IgG concentrations compared with beef breed calves; no association was detected based on sex. For feeding equipment hygiene, we assessed the presence of protein residues and found that hygiene levels tended to worsen from the first to the final 6 wk of the calving season. We found no association between feeding equipment hygiene and herd size or 28-d calf mortality rate. Colostrum and calf management practices were not associated with either calf serum IgG concentration or 28-d calf mortality rate. We found that IgG concentration in colostrum produced in Irish dairy herds was generally good, although large variation existed, emphasizing the need for assessment of colostrum before feeding. Results also suggested that hygiene practices associated with calf rearing can be improved, particularly in the latter half of the calving season.

    Short communication: The effects of regrouping in relation to fresh feed delivery in lactating Holstein cows
    Smid, Anne Marieke C. ; Weary, Daniel M. ; Bokkers, Eddie A.M. ; Keyserlingk, Marina A.G. von - \ 2019
    Journal of Dairy Science 102 (2019)7. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 6545 - 6550.
    management - mixing - social stress - welfare

    This study tested whether separating regrouping from the time of fresh feed delivery mitigated the effects of regrouping on cow behavior and milk production. Cows (n = 26) were individually introduced into a stable group of 11 animals/pen fed twice daily. Animals were randomly assigned to early regrouping (at 0300 h, approximately 10.5 h after fresh feed delivery and 3.5 h before the next fresh feed delivery) and late regrouping (between 0630 and 0730 h, coinciding with access to fresh feed). For 3 d, starting immediately after regrouping, video recordings continuously monitored feeding and perching (i.e., standing with the 2 front feet in the lying stall) behavior and displacements at the feed bunk. Data loggers were used to quantify lying time and the number of standing bouts; milk production was automatically recorded at each milking. Daily feeding and lying times and the number of standing bouts per day did not differ between treatments or experimental days. Daily perching time and the number of displacements at the feed bunk did not differ between treatments but decreased with experimental day. Average milk production on d 2 and 3 after regrouping (30.6 ± 1.5 kg/d) was lower than during the 3 d before regrouping (32.3 ± 1.5 kg/d), but we observed no effect of treatment on this decline. We conclude that regrouping at a time not associated with fresh feed delivery does not mitigate the negative effects of regrouping.

    Lameness and its relationship with health and production measures in broiler chickens
    Granquist, E.G. ; Vasdal, G. ; Jong, I.C. De; Moe, R.O. - \ 2019
    Animal 13 (2019)10. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 2365 - 2372.
    condemnation - dermatitis - gait - poultry - welfare

    The aim of this study was to explore lameness and the associations between lameness and health/production measures of animal welfare in commercial broiler production, using the Welfare Quality ® protocol for broilers. A total of 50 flocks were included in the sample and farm visits were conducted for lameness scoring at a mean age of 28.9 days. The percentage of animals (n=7500) in the six different gait score (GS) categories were GS0: 2.53%, GS1: 44.19%, GS2: 33.84%, GS3: 16.32%, GS4: 2.36% and GS5: 0.53%. Production and other welfare data were collected for each flock after slaughter. Higher gait scores were associated with increased hock burn score (P<0.02), increased footpad dermatitis score (P<0.01), reduced bird cleanliness score (P<0.01) and peat litter (P<0.01). Although not statistically significant, there was a tendency for increased flock gait score being associated with wet litter (P=0.07). In addition, condemnations at postmortem inspection were associated with increasing gait scores (P<0.05), indicating that at least a portion of the lameness cases display pathological changes on the carcasses. In conclusion, 19%of the birds showed moderate-to-severe lameness, which was associated with several production or health and welfare observations including feather cleanliness and condemnations as unfit for human consumption at slaughter. Although stocking density and growth rate are already known key factors for lameness, associations of lameness with hock burns, footpad dermatitis and cleanliness of the birds suggest that a suboptimal physical environment (e.g. litter- and air quality) may be detrimental to leg health. Further studies are needed to explore these associations in more detail.

    Comparison of performance, health and welfare aspects between commercially housed hatchery-hatched and on-farm hatched broiler flocks
    Jong, I.C. de; Gunnink, H. ; Hattum, T. van; Riel, J.W. van; Raaijmakers, M.M.P. ; Zoet, E.S. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2019
    Animal 13 (2019)6. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 1269 - 1277.
    broiler - early feeding - on-farm hatching - performance - welfare

    On-farm hatching systems for broiler chicks are increasingly used in practice. We studied whether or not performance, health and welfare aspects differed between commercial flocks hatched on-farm or in a hatchery (control). In two successive production cycles on seven farms, a total of 16 on-farm hatched flocks were paired to 16 control flocks, housed at the same farm. Paired flocks originated from the same batch of eggs and were subjected to similar on-farm management. On-farm hatched and control flocks only differed with respect to hatching conditions, with on-farm hatched flocks not being exposed to, for example, chick handling, post-hatch feed and water deprivation and transport, in contrast to control flocks that were subjected to standard hatchery procedures, subsequently transported and placed in the poultry house. Day-old chick quality (navel and hock scores), 1st week mortality, total mortality, BW at day (d) 0, d7 and at depopulation, and (total) feed conversion ratio were determined. Prevalence of footpad dermatitis, hock burn, breast discoloration/blisters and cleanliness, litter quality and gait score were determined at d21 of age and around depopulation (d39 on average). Gross pathology and gut morphology were examined at depopulation age in a sample of birds of five flocks per treatment. On-farm hatching resulted in a higher BW at d0 (=5.4 g) and d7 (=11.5 g) (P<0.001), but day-old chick quality as measured by navel (P=0.003) and hock (P=0.01) quality was worse for on-farm hatched compared to control birds. Body weight, 1st week and total mortality, and feed conversion ratio at slaughter age were similar for both on-farm hatched and control flocks. On-farm hatched flocks had less footpad dermatitis (P=0.05), which indicated a better welfare. This was likely related to a tendency for better litter quality in on-farm hatched flocks at 21 days of age in comparison to control flocks (P=0.08). No major differences in gross pathology or in intestinal morphology at depopulation age were found between treatments. In conclusion, on-farm hatching resulted in better 1st week broiler performance and better welfare compared to conventional hatching in a hatchery.

    Review of environmental enrichment for broiler chickens
    Riber, A.B. ; De Weerd, H.A. Van; Jong, I.C. De; Steenfeldt, S. - \ 2018
    Poultry Science 97 (2018)2. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 378 - 396.
    behavior - broiler - environmental enrichment - production system - welfare
    Welfare problems are commonly found in both conventional and organic production of broiler chickens. In order to reduce the extent of welfare problems, it has been suggested to provide stimulating, enriched environments. The aim of the present paper is to provide a review of the effect on behavior and welfare of the different kinds of environmental enrichments in the production of broilers that have been described in the scientific literature. Environmental enrichment is defined as an improvement of the environment of captive animals, which increases the behavioral opportunities of the animal and leads to improvements of the biological function. This definition has been broadened to include practical and economic aspects, as any enrichment strategy that adversely affects the health of animals or that has too many economic or practical constraints will never be implemented on commercial farms and thus never benefit animals. Environmental enrichment for broilers often has the purpose of satisfying behavioral needs and/or stimulating the broilers to an increased level of activity, which among others will reduce the occurrence of leg problems. Potentially successful environmental enrichments for broiler chickens are elevated resting-places, panels, barriers, and bales of straw ("point-source enrichment"), as well as covered verandas and outdoor ranges ("complex enriched environments"). Many of the ideas for environmental enrichment for broilers need to be further developed and studied, preferably in commercial trials, with respect to the use, the effect on behavior and on other welfare aspects such as leg health, and the interaction with genotype, production system, stocking density, light, and flock size. In addition, information on the practical application and the economics of the production system is often lacking, although it is important for application in practice.
    Identification of a practical and reliable method for the evaluation of litter moisture in turkey production
    Vinco, L.J. ; Giacomelli, S. ; Campana, L. ; Chiari, M. ; Vitale, N. ; Lombardi, G. ; Veldkamp, T. ; Hocking, P.M. - \ 2018
    British Poultry Science 59 (2018)1. - ISSN 0007-1668 - p. 7 - 12.
    Bedding quality - environment - foot pad dermatitis - litter moisture - poultry - welfare
    1. An experiment was conducted to compare 5 different methods for the evaluation of litter moisture. 2. For litter collection and assessment, 55 farms were selected, one shed from each farm was inspected and 9 points were identified within each shed. 3. For each device, used for the evaluation of litter moisture, mean and standard deviation of wetness measures per collection point were assessed. 4. The reliability and overall consistency between the 5 instruments used to measure wetness were high (α = 0.72). 5. Measurement of three out of the 9 collection points were sufficient to provide a reliable assessment of litter moisture throughout the shed. 6. Based on the direct correlation between litter moisture and footpad lesions, litter moisture measurement can be used as a resource based on-farm animal welfare indicator. 7. Among the 5 methods analysed, visual scoring is the most simple and practical, and therefore the best candidate to be used on-farm for animal welfare assessment.
    Adding value to end of lay hens: improving welfare, sustainability and credibility
    Weeks, C.A. ; Elson, H.A. ; Jozefova, J. ; Neijenhuis, F. ; Yngvesson, J. ; Voslarova, E. - \ 2017
    In: Book of Abstracts Xth Symposium on Poultry Welfare. - World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) - p. 167 - 168.
    Hens - transport - handling - networking - end of lay - welfare
    Do Savings and Credit Institutions Reduce Vulnerability? New Evidence From Mexico
    Lensink, Robert ; Servin Juarez, Roselia ; Berg, Marrit van den - \ 2017
    Review of Income and Wealth 63 (2017)2. - ISSN 0034-6586 - p. 335 - 352.
    banking - BANSEFI - Mexico - microfinance - savings societies - vulnerability - welfare

    This study examines whether membership in a savings and credit society (SACP) reduces vulnerability to poverty, using a representative survey from the National Savings and Financial Services Bank. The sample of households includes those that are and are not members of a SACP during 2004−2007. This evidence indicates that membership improves income; furthermore, membership decreases the variance in annual household per capita income. Both effects reduce the probability that somebody becomes poor. Finally, the results offer support for the proposition that households that join a SACP have better abilities to smooth consumption in the face of adverse shocks, and thus are less susceptible to shocks, than do households that are not members.

    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.

    Layer breeding programmes in changing production environments : a historic perspective
    Leenstra, F. ; Napel, J. Ten; Visscher, J. ; Sambeek, F. Van - \ 2016
    Worlds Poultry Science Journal 72 (2016)1. - ISSN 0043-9339 - p. 21 - 36.
    breeding - cages - eggs - free range - genetics - husbandry - layers - welfare

    The housing and management of laying hens and their productivity has gone through enormous developments in the last century. Housing has changed from free-range systems, via battery cages to a variety of loose housing and different types of battery cages, and back to outdoor access systems. Although battery cages are still the main system used worldwide, the number of hens housed in aviaries and free-range systems has increased in Europe, Australasia and some parts of the USA, but aviaries and free-range systems are still considered a niche sector compared to caged housing. The following paper reviews how breeding and selection have responded to changes in housing and management and whether different types of housing require different breeding programmes and, more specifically, whether a dedicated breeding programme should be developed for aviary and free-range systems. From the available literature it was concluded that broadening the selection goal in existing lines is the best option for breeding programmes to provide genotypes that are suitable for a range of housing systems.

    Causes of keel bone damage and their solutions in laying hens
    Harlander-Matauschek, A. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Sandilands, V. ; Tobalske, B.W. ; Toscano, M.J. - \ 2015
    Worlds Poultry Science Journal 71 (2015)3. - ISSN 0043-9339 - p. 461 - 472.
    bone - damage - fracture - keel - laying hen - welfare

    Keel bone damage (KBD) is a critical issue facing the contemporary laying hen industry due to the likely pain leading to compromised welfare and reduced productivity. Recent reports suggest that KBD, while highly variable and likely dependent on a host of factors, extends to all housing systems (including traditional battery cages, furnished cages and non-cage systems), genetic lines, and management styles. Despite the extent of the problem, the research community remains uncertain as to the causes and influencing factors of KBD. To combat these issues, the current review was produced following discussions from the 1st International Keel Bone Damage Workshop held in Switzerland in April 2014. This exercise sought to assess current knowledge, foster novel collaborations, propose unique methodologies and highlight the key areas where innovative research is needed. The following paper is based on the content of those discussions and presents nine recommendations for future research efforts.

    Potential of extensification of European agriculture for a more sustainable food system; the case for nitrogen and livestock
    Grinsven, J.J.M. van; Erisman, J.W. ; Vries, W. de; Westhoek, H. - \ 2015
    Environmental Research Letters 10 (2015)2. - ISSN 1748-9326 - 10 p.
    dairy farms - management - intensification - welfare - trends - impact - costs - meat - pig
    Most global strategies for future food security focus on sustainable intensification of production of food and involve increased use of nitrogen fertilizer and manure. The external costs of current high nitrogen (N) losses from agriculture in the European Union, are 0.3–1.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008. We explore the potential of sustainable extensification for agriculture in the EU and The Netherlands by analysing cases and scenario studies focusing on reducing N inputs and livestock densities. Benefits of extensification are higher local biodiversity and less environmental pollution and therefore less external costs for society. Extensification also has risks such as a reduction of yields and therewith a decrease of the GDP and farm income and a smaller contribution to the global food production, and potentially an i0ncrease of global demand for land. We demonstrate favourable examples of extensification. Reducing the N fertilization rate for winter wheat in Northwest Europe to 25–30% below current N recommendations accounts for the external N cost, but requires action to compensate for a reduction in crop yield by 10–20%. Dutch dairy and pig farmers changing to less intensive production maintain or even improve farm income by price premiums on their products, and/or by savings on external inputs. A scenario reducing the Dutch pig and poultry sector by 50%, the dairy sector by 20% and synthetic N fertilizer use by 40% lowers annual N pollution costs by 0.2–2.2 billion euro (40%). This benefit compensates for the loss of GDP in the primary sector but not in the supply and processing chain. A 2030 scenario for the EU27 reducing consumption and production of animal products by 50% (demitarean diet) reduces N pollution by 10% and benefits human health. This diet allows the EU27 to become a food exporter, while reducing land demand outside Europe in 2030 by more than 100 million hectares (2%), which more than compensates increased land demand when changing to organic farming. We conclude that in Europe extensification of agriculture is sustainable when combined with adjusted diets and externalization of environmental costs to food prices.
    Electrophysiological and behavioural responses of turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) cooled in ices water
    Lambooij, E. ; Bracke, M.B.M. ; Reimert, H.G.M. ; Foss, A. ; Imsland, A. ; Vis, J.W. van de - \ 2015
    Physiology and Behavior 149 (2015). - ISSN 0031-9384 - p. 23 - 28.
    fish - welfare - pain - stress - system - l.
    Behavioural, neural and physiological aspects related to pre-slaughter cooling of turbot habituated to two environmental temperatures (18.7 and 12.0 °C) were investigated. Six fish in both treatments were immersed in ice water for 75 min. For control, four fish were immersed in water under their habituated environmental temperature. Turbot did not show a quick reduction of overall power in the EEG (electroencephalogram) to less than 10%, nor did the turbot show a shift in brain wave predominance from high to low frequency waves. At 15 min after immersion in ice water at least 7 out of 12 fish still showed total power values over 10% of pre-immersion values. Significant reductions in responsiveness to needle scratches and reduced breathing after immersion in ice waterwere observed, but none of these parameters had dropped to 0 even after 75 min in icewater. A significant reduction in gill score was found at 2 and 5 min after immersion in ice water compared to the control fish (p
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