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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. 47(2): 591-596. (doi: 10.13031/2013.16040) @2004
Authors:   K. E. Persyn, H. Xin, D. Nettleton, A. Ikeguchi, R. S. Gates
Keywords:   Animal welfare, Ingestion, Poultry

This study quantifies feeding behavior of W-36 White Leghorn laying hens (77 to 80 weeks old) as influenced by the management practice of beak trimming. The feeding behavior was characterized using a newly developed measurement system and computational algorithm. Non-trimmed (NT) and beak-trimmed (BT) hens showed similar daily feed intake and meal size. However, the BT hens tended to spend longer time feeding (3.3 vs. 2.0 h/d, P < 0.01), which coincided with their slower ingestion rate of 0.43 g/min-kg0.75 vs. 0.79 g/min-kg0.75 for the NT counterparts (P < 0.05). The BT hens had shorter time intervals between meals (101 s vs. 151 s, P < 0.01). Selective feeding, as demonstrated by larger feed particles apparent in the leftover feed, was noted for the BT hens. The leftover feed had a lower crude protein/adjusted crude protein content for the BT birds than that for the NT birds (16.7% vs. 18.7%, P < 0.05). In addition, the leftover feed of the BT birds had lower contents in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and manganese (P < 0.05), although no significant differences were detected in calcium, sodium, or metabolic energy content. Baseline feeding behavior data of this nature may help quantify and ensure the welfare of animals through exercising proper engineering design and/or management considerations.

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