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Passageway Preference Testing for Laying Hen

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

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-1602.(doi:10.13031/2013.41583)
Authors:   Ana Paula De Assis Maia, Glogerley Tatiana Sales, Angela R Green, Patricia Katherine Paulausky, Richard S Gates, Daniella Jorge De Moura
Keywords:   Animal welfare, animal behavior, choice testing, poultry

Animal preference and motivation are tools to better assess how an animal perceives its surroundings, potentially contributing to improvements in animal welfare. Several preference and motivational assessment techniques rely on animal choices, and require a test apparatus with choices separated by doors that the animal must navigate. Variations of door types appear in previous studies. The doors could potentially interfere with the animals choices depending on the ease of door use, the work required to navigate the door, or other considerations by the animals. To further understand potential impacts of door selection on choice testing with laying hens, a preference study was carried out with three door types. Overall, hens daily behavior profile and activity was not affected by the presence of doors. When offered a choice, hens preferred vertical chains and vinyl strips compared with an acrylic panel. These findings suggest that the type of doors applied in preference or motivation studies should be a consideration in the study planning.

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