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Effects of perch on feed consumption and behaviour of caged laying hens

Valkonen, Eija; Rinne, Reine and Valaja, Jarmo (2009) Effects of perch on feed consumption and behaviour of caged laying hens. Agricultural and Food Science, 18 (3-4), pp. 257-267.

PDF - Published Version - English

Online at: http://www.mtt.fi/afs/pdf/mtt-afs-v18n3-4p257.pdf


This experiment studied the effects of perches in furnished cages on behaviour and feed consumption of laying hens. The study used 352 Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) hens. The hens were housed at 16 weeks of age in furnished cages in groups of 8 birds. The experiment lasted for 205 days. The treatments were: perches present from 16 weeks of age (P16), perches present from 19 weeks of age (P19), and no perches present (NP). Feed consumption and egg production were measured over the pre-laying period and six 4-week laying periods. The number of hens on perch, in nest and litter box was recorded at various ages. The behaviour of 3 hens per treatment was observed using instantaneous sampling at every 5 minutes, so that the observations of each hen covered one light period (14.5 hours). The treatments had no significant effects on feed consumption after the pre-laying period. Feed conversion ratio (kg feed kg-1 eggs) was favourable in P16 in comparison to NP during the periods 2–4. During the observations after the lights-out NP birds tended to be more frequently in nests, than P16 birds. NP birds spent more time on the cage floor, were recumbent more often, and sitting more rarely in comparison to P16 birds. Based on the results of this study, perches may have advantageous effect on feed conversion ratio in furnished cages.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:feed consumption, egg production, welfare
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: Finland > Univ. Helsinki
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Related Links:http://www.mtt.fi/english
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:16977
Deposited On:09 Apr 2010 10:04
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:44
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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