Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Structuring broiler barns : how a perforated flooring system affects animal behavior

Broiler chickens in Europe are usually raised in a barren environment. Elevated perforated platforms address this problem and can positively influence animal health and welfare. To evaluate the effect of an elevated perforated floor on the behavior of broiler chickens, one of two barns was equipped with a perforated flooring system under the food and water supply. The second barn was used as a control. In total, three fattening periods were observed, with 500 broiler chickens (Ross 308 breed) kept in each barn. To compare the behavior of the birds in these groups, cameras were installed in the two barns. The videos were analyzed by counting the number of birds and observing focal animals while recording their behavior. More animals were observed on the perforated floor than in the littered control area (p < 0.001), but focal animals spent less time on the perforated floor compared to the observed littered area in the control barn (p < 0.05). There were no differences in the length of the recorded behaviors between the treatments. These findings suggest that, in general, the elevated perforated floor is attractive for the animals. However, it does not promote one of the recorded behavior patterns. Our results show that an elevated perforated floor could be an option for structuring broiler barns.


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