Perch use by laying hens in a commercial aviary1
Non-cage housing systems, such as the aviary, are being implemented by the laying hen industry, including in North America, in an attempt to improve the welfare of hens. Perches are a resource that is consistently included in aviaries. Hens are strongly motivated to perch, and perching can improve leg bone strength. However, hens may prefer elevated perches, particularly at night, and thus simply providing perches is not enough to improve welfare; they must be provided in a way that allows all hens to access them. Observations of laying hens using perches and ledges (flat, solid metal shelves to assist hens' movement between tiers) in a commercial aviary revealed variation in where hens roosted within the tiered aviary enclosure across the flock cycle (peak, mid and end of lay; P < 0.001 for all age points). Hens most often preferred roosting in the highest enclosure levels, leading to crowding on upper perches and ledges while perch space remained available on lower levels. Restricted access to preferable perches may cause frustration in hens, leading to welfare issues. Hens roosted more on perches at peak lay than mid and end lay (P < 0.001) but roosted less on ledges at peak lay than mid and end lay (P < 0.001). Additionally, more hens roosted on both perches and ledges in the 'dark' observation period compared with the number of hens roosting during the 'light' observation period (P < 0.001). Further research should look at all structural elements within the system that are used by hens for roosting, such as edges of tiers and upper wire floors, to evaluate how changes in perching preferences across the lay cycle may correlate with system design and bird-based parameters.
Free-living hens roost on branches in trees at night, and laying hens in aviary systems or cages provided with perches also make extensive use of these for night-time roosting. It is therefore suggested that roosting on perches is important to the hens and that domestic hens should be provided with perches in order to promote welfare. However, no study has addressed the question of motivation f...متن کامل
In order to determine the utility of different perches in enriched colony housing systems for laying hens, the use of perches and an effect of the type and location in the system was examined in this behavioral study. Laying hens of the line Lohmann Selected Leghorn were housed in four different enriched colony housing systems which differed particularly in the alignment and arrangement of the ...متن کامل
The laying hen industry is implementing aviary systems intended to improve welfare by providing hens with more space and resources to perform species-specific behaviors. To date, limited research has examined spatial requirements of various strains of laying hens for performing key behaviors and none has been conducted within an alternative housing system. This study investigated the amount of ...متن کامل
Keel bone fractures and deviations are one of the major welfare and health issues in commercial laying hens. In non-cage housing systems like aviaries, falls and collisions with perches and other parts of the housing system are assumed to be one of the main causes for the high incidence of keel bone damage. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effectiveness of a soft perch mater...متن کامل
Fatty liver is a common energy metabolic disorder in caged laying hens. Considering that the egg industry is shifting from conventional cages to alternative housing systems such as enriched cages, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of perches on fat deposition and liver health in laying hens. Three hundred twenty-four 17-wk-old White Leghorn hens were housed in 1 of 4 trea...متن کامل