Document Detail

Behavioral responses of laying hens to different alfalfa-layer ration combinations fed during molting.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18492986     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Induced molting by feed withdrawal has been a common practice in the commercial layer industry and usually involves the removal of feed for a period of up to 14 d. However, this is a practice that is believed to adversely influence the welfare of the hens and there is a need to examine behavioral responses to alternative molt regimens. The behavioral patterns of hens on 90% alfalfa:10% layer ration, 80% alfalfa:20% layer ration, and 70% alfalfa:30% layer ration molt diets were compared with feed withdrawal (FW) hens, and fully fed (FF) hens. The White Leghorn laying hens were approximately 54 wk old and were placed in 3 identical climate-controlled rooms. The hens were individually housed in 2-tier wire battery cages and provided treatment rations and water ad libitum. Nonnutritive pecking, walking, drinking, feeder activity, preening, aggression, and head movement were quantified during two 10-min periods each day for 6 hens from each treatment. Over the 9-d treatment period, hens in the FW, 70% alfalfa:30% layer ration, and 80% alfalfa:20% layer ration groups spent significantly more time walking than hens in the 90% alfalfa:10% layer ration group. The FF and 70% alfalfa:30% layer ration hens spent half as much time preening, whereas the FW hens displayed nearly twice as much nonnutritive pecking when compared with other treatments. Most differences in head movements occurred at the beginning of the molt period, whereas during the last half of molt, alfalfa-fed hens exhibited feeder activity similar to FF hens, and all were significantly higher than that of FW hens. After some initial adjustment by the hens, consumption of alfalfa molt diets appeared to reduce nonnutritive pecking behavior, which is characteristically associated with FW hens.
C S Dunkley; T H Friend; J L McReynolds; C L Woodward; W K Kim; K D Dunkley; L F Kubena; D J Nisbet; S C Ricke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Poultry science     Volume:  87     ISSN:  0032-5791     ISO Abbreviation:  Poult. Sci.     Publication Date:  2008 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-21     Completed Date:  2008-08-12     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0401150     Medline TA:  Poult Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1005-11     Citation Subset:  IM    
Texas A&M University, Department of Poultry Science, College Station 77843-2472, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Feed*
Behavior, Animal
Chickens / physiology*
Drinking Behavior
Head Movements / physiology
Medicago sativa
Molting / physiology*

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