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Using spatial distribution and behaviour to determine optimal space allowances for poultry and rabbits

Buijs, Stephanie (2011). Using spatial distribution and behaviour to determine optimal space allowances for poultry and rabbits. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2011:8
ISBN 978-91-576-7577-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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Abstract

Previous research on the effect of stocking density on welfare has focused on adverse effects on health and behaviour. Absence of such effects does not mean that space allowance is optimal from the animals’ point of view. This thesis aimed to assess optimal space allowances by studying spatial distribution and behaviour. The importance of lower densities was studied using a combination of preference and motivation testing. Broilers were increasingly attracted to the pen walls as stocking density increased. This attraction seems to stem from an attempt to minimize disturbances by conspecifics, which increased with stocking density (paper I). Such environmental influences on spacing need to be corrected for when studying the social component of spatial distribution: attraction/avoidance between animals. When such corrections were made, broilers were found to avoid each other if stocked at densities above 2.4 birds/m² (paper II). Broiler chickens showed a considerable motivation for densities below 15 birds/m2. To get to lower densities, they crossed barriers that deterred 20-25% of broilers from obtaining feed after 6 hours of feed deprivation (paper III). When environmental influences were accounted for, fattening rabbits avoided their conspecifics at all densities studied, suggesting that the optimal stocking density lies below 5 animals/m² in this species. Furthermore, they seemed less attracted to each other when a wooden enrichment structure was present (paper IV). Fattening rabbits spent more time lying sternally at higher densities, possibly because other behaviours were increasingly impeded. In enriched cages less time was spent on cage manipulation, social contact and drinking. This time was instead spent gnawing and exploring the structure, suggesting that in barren cages such behaviour was redirected towards conspecifics and cage materials (paper V). The results show the importance of correcting for environmental influences when assessing the social component of spatial distribution. Additionally, the use of multiple distribution indices is recommended.

Authors/Creators:Buijs, Stephanie
Title:Using spatial distribution and behaviour to determine optimal space allowances for poultry and rabbits
Year of publishing :2011
Volume:2011:8
Number of Pages:97
Papers/manuscripts:
NumberReferences
ALLI. Buijs, S., Keeling, L.J., Vangestel, C., Baert, J., Vangeyte, J. & Tuyttens, F.A.M. (2010). Resting or hiding? Why broiler chickens stay near walls and how density affects this. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 124, 97-103. II. Buijs, S., Keeling, L.J., Vangestel, C., Baert, J. & Tuyttens, F.A.M. (2011). Neighbourhood analysis as an indicator of spatial requirements of broiler chickens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 129, 111-120. III. Buijs, S., Keeling, L.J. & Tuyttens, F.A.M. (2011). Using motivation to feed as a way to assess the importance of space for broiler chickens. Animal Behaviour 81, 145-151. IV. Buijs, S., Keeling, L.J., Vangestel, C., Baert, J., Vangeyte, J. & Tuyttens, F.A.M. Assessing attraction or avoidance between rabbits: a comparison of methodologies to analyse spatial distribution. Manuscript. V. Buijs, S., Keeling, L.J., & Tuyttens, F.A.M. Behaviour and use of space in fattening rabbits as influenced by cage size and enrichment. Submitted.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7577-4
ISSN:1652-6880
Language:English
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:broiler chickens, rabbits, stocking density, group size, cages, density, spatial distributions, behaviour
Keywords:spatial distribution, behaviour, space allowance, stocking density, enrichment, broiler, rabbit
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-3152
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-3152
ID Code:2438
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: Stephanie Buijs
Deposited On:11 Feb 2011 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:18

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