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Effects of stocking density, cage height on health, behaviour, physiology & production of laying hens in enriched cages - AW0226

Description
This project represents a collaboration between ADAS, Bristol University, Edinburgh University Animal Welfare Group and Roslin Institute`s Welfare Biology Group. The research which this consortium will conduct will be supported by in-kind contributions from a number of industrial partners inclusing Deans Foods Ltd., Hubbard Ltd., and several cage manufacturers. The project will build upon earlier MAFF funded research in to the welfare of birds housed in furnished laying cages, in particular the work done by ADAS under project AW0206. That work showed that both the welfare and performance of laying hens in furnished cages can be good, but it also identified a number of areas for further research, and these will be investigated in the project now proposed.

The main objectives of the project are:
1. To evaluate the effect on bird behaviour, welfare and performance of varying the stocking density in furnished cages.
2. To evaluate the effect on bird behaviour, welfare and performance of modifying the height of furnishes cages.
3. To investigate innovative meterials and substrates which may be suitable for dustbathing and to assess the scope for their incorporation into furnished cages.
Objective
01: To evaluate the effects of stocking density in furnished layingcages on the health, welfare, physiology, behaviouralrepertoire and productivity (including egg quality) of laying hens in Gleadthorpe, and De Montfort flocks.

02: To evaluate the effects of the height within furnished laying cages on the health, welfare, behavioural erpertoire and productivity (including egg quality) of laying hens in Gleadthorpe, and De Montfort flocks.

03: To evaluate the effects of innovative flooring material, on scratching floraging and dustbathing behaviour and motivation of laying hens and to assess the scope for their incorporation into furnished laying cages in the form of dustbaths or scratching and foraging facilities.

04: To evaluate the most promising stocking density, cage height and dustbath combinations identified through Objectives 01 to 03 in a commerical scale facility in terms of laying hen behaviour and productivity, in order to identify operational problems or difficulties which may be encountered by industry when furnished cages are adopted in the UK in due course.
Project Documents
• Final Report : The effect of stocking density and cage height on the health, behaviour, physiology and production of laying hens in furnished cages   (157k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2004

Cost: £616,384
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - De Montfort, University - Lincoln, Roslin Institute, Edinburgh (BBSRC), University - Bristol, ADAS UK Ltd., University - Edinburgh
Keywords
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Poultry              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare