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

Citation:  Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium, 18-20 May 2005 (Beijing, China) Publication Date 18 May 2005  701P0205.(doi:10.13031/2013.18422)
Authors:   R. N. Cook, H. Xin
Keywords:   Stocking density, laying hen, ingestion, animal welfare, poultry housing

This study quantifies the effects of cage stocking density (348, 387, 426, and 465 cm2 per hen; 54, 60, 66, and 72 in2 per hen) on the feeding behavior of the W-36 White Leghorn laying hen. Feeding behavior was characterized using a specialized instrumentation system and computational algorithm for each cage of six hens during four 24-hen trials. Statistics show no significant difference among the stocking densities under thermoneutral conditions for daily feed intake, hen-hours spent feeding per cage, average feeding time per hen, number of meals ingested per day per cage, meal size in g/meal-hen, average meal duration in sec/meal, ingestion rate in g/min-hen, and average number of hens feeding per meal. Other characteristics measured and reported include simultaneous feeding behaviors and diurnal feeding patterns. Quantification of specific responses such as feeding behavior to potential stressors (i.e. cage stocking density) may yield better housing design and management decisions based upon scientific data to improve animal welfare.

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