Ghent University Academic Bibliography

Advanced

Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens

Jasper Heerkens, Evelyne Delezie, Ine Kempen, Johan Zoons, Bart Ampe, T Bas Rodenburg and Frank Tuyttens UGent (2015) POULTRY SCIENCE. 94(9). p.2008-2017
abstract
Feather pecking and high mortality levels are significant welfare problems in non-cage housing systems for laying hens. The aim of this study was to identify husbandry-related risk factors for feather damage, mortality, and egg laying performance in laying hens housed in the multi-tier non-cage housing systems known as aviaries. Factors tested included type of system flooring, degree of red mite infestation, and access to free-range areas. Information on housing characteristics, management, and performance in Belgian aviaries (N = 47 flocks) were obtained from a questionnaire, farm records, and farm visits. Plumage condition and pecking wounds were scored in 50 randomly selected 60-week-old hens per flock. Associations between plumage condition, wounds, performance, mortality, and possible risk factors were investigated using a linear model with a stepwise model selection procedure. Many flocks exhibited a poor plumage condition and a high prevalence of wounds, with considerable variation between flocks. Better plumage condition was found in wire mesh aviaries (P < 0.001), in aviaries with no red mite infestation (P = 0.004), and in free-range systems (P = 0.011) compared to plastic slatted aviaries, in houses with red mite infestations, and those without a free-range area. Furthermore, hens in aviaries with wire mesh flooring had fewer wounds on the back (P = 0.006) and vent (P = 0.009), reduced mortality (P = 0.003), and a better laying performance (P = 0.013) as compared to hens in aviaries with plastic slatted flooring. Flocks with better feather cover had lower levels of mortality (P < 0.001). Red mite infestations were more common in plastic slatted aviaries (P = 0.043). Other risk factors associated with plumage condition were genotype, number of diet changes, and the presence of nest perches. Wire mesh flooring in particular seems to have several health, welfare, and performance benefits in comparison to plastic slats, possibly related to decreased feather pecking, better hygiene, and fewer red mite infestations. This suggests that adjustments to the aviary housing design may further improve laying hen welfare and performance.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
mortality, feather pecking, housing system, aviary, red mite, POULTRY RED MITE, FEATHER-PECKING, FURNISHED CAGES, DERMANYSSUS-GALLINAE, ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS, PRELAYING BEHAVIOR, DOMESTIC HENS, RISK-FACTORS, WELFARE, PREVALENCE
journal title
POULTRY SCIENCE
Poult. Sci.
volume
94
issue
9
pages
2008 - 2017
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000360191900003
JCR category
AGRICULTURE, DAIRY & ANIMAL SCIENCE
JCR impact factor
1.685 (2015)
JCR rank
10/58 (2015)
JCR quartile
1 (2015)
ISSN
0032-5791
DOI
10.3382/ps/pev187
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
7260377
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-7260377
date created
2016-06-17 14:40:58
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:47:14
@article{7260377,
  abstract     = {Feather pecking and high mortality levels are significant welfare problems in non-cage housing systems for laying hens. The aim of this study was to identify husbandry-related risk factors for feather damage, mortality, and egg laying performance in laying hens housed in the multi-tier non-cage housing systems known as aviaries. Factors tested included type of system flooring, degree of red mite infestation, and access to free-range areas. Information on housing characteristics, management, and performance in Belgian aviaries (N = 47 flocks) were obtained from a questionnaire, farm records, and farm visits. Plumage condition and pecking wounds were scored in 50 randomly selected 60-week-old hens per flock. Associations between plumage condition, wounds, performance, mortality, and possible risk factors were investigated using a linear model with a stepwise model selection procedure. Many flocks exhibited a poor plumage condition and a high prevalence of wounds, with considerable variation between flocks. Better plumage condition was found in wire mesh aviaries (P {\textlangle} 0.001), in aviaries with no red mite infestation (P = 0.004), and in free-range systems (P = 0.011) compared to plastic slatted aviaries, in houses with red mite infestations, and those without a free-range area. Furthermore, hens in aviaries with wire mesh flooring had fewer wounds on the back (P = 0.006) and vent (P = 0.009), reduced mortality (P = 0.003), and a better laying performance (P = 0.013) as compared to hens in aviaries with plastic slatted flooring. Flocks with better feather cover had lower levels of mortality (P {\textlangle} 0.001). Red mite infestations were more common in plastic slatted aviaries (P = 0.043). Other risk factors associated with plumage condition were genotype, number of diet changes, and the presence of nest perches. Wire mesh flooring in particular seems to have several health, welfare, and performance benefits in comparison to plastic slats, possibly related to decreased feather pecking, better hygiene, and fewer red mite infestations. This suggests that adjustments to the aviary housing design may further improve laying hen welfare and performance.},
  author       = {Heerkens, Jasper and Delezie, Evelyne and Kempen, Ine and Zoons, Johan and Ampe, Bart and Rodenburg, T Bas and Tuyttens, Frank},
  issn         = {0032-5791},
  journal      = {POULTRY SCIENCE},
  keyword      = {mortality,feather pecking,housing system,aviary,red mite,POULTRY RED MITE,FEATHER-PECKING,FURNISHED CAGES,DERMANYSSUS-GALLINAE,ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS,PRELAYING BEHAVIOR,DOMESTIC HENS,RISK-FACTORS,WELFARE,PREVALENCE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {2008--2017},
  title        = {Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pev187},
  volume       = {94},
  year         = {2015},
}

Chicago
Heerkens, Jasper, Evelyne Delezie, Ine Kempen, Johan Zoons, Bart Ampe, T Bas Rodenburg, and Frank Tuyttens. 2015. “Specific Characteristics of the Aviary Housing System Affect Plumage Condition, Mortality and Production in Laying Hens.” Poultry Science 94 (9): 2008–2017.
APA
Heerkens, J., Delezie, E., Kempen, I., Zoons, J., Ampe, B., Rodenburg, T. B., & Tuyttens, F. (2015). Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens. POULTRY SCIENCE, 94(9), 2008–2017.
Vancouver
1.
Heerkens J, Delezie E, Kempen I, Zoons J, Ampe B, Rodenburg TB, et al. Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens. POULTRY SCIENCE. 2015;94(9):2008–17.
MLA
Heerkens, Jasper, Evelyne Delezie, Ine Kempen, et al. “Specific Characteristics of the Aviary Housing System Affect Plumage Condition, Mortality and Production in Laying Hens.” POULTRY SCIENCE 94.9 (2015): 2008–2017. Print.