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The Effects of Light Intensity and Light Source on Injuries due to Pecking of Male Domestic Turkeys (Meleagris Gallopavo)

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It has been shown that, in small groups of intact male domestic turkeys, supplementary ultraviolet (UV-A) radiation, visual barriers, and added straw (environmental enrichment) minimize the incidence of injurious pecking under incandescent light at 5 lux. This paper describes two experiments, each involving eight groups of 100 non beak-trimmed birds up to 5 weeks of age, that assessed the effectiveness of these procedures at higher light intensities and with fluorescent light. Experiment 1 examined 5 or 10 lux of incandescent or fluorescent light. Experiment 2 studied responses to 5, 10, 36 or 70 lux of fluorescent light. Individual inspections of the birds, for wing, tail and head injuries due to pecking, were conducted daily.

Fluorescent light significantly reduced the incidence of tail injuries (p = 0.03), and tended to reduce those to the wings (P = 0.08), compared with incandescent light. No difference was observed between 5 and 10 lux for either tail or wing injuries. In Experiment 2 the incidence of tail and wing injuries was significantly and positively correlated with light intensity (tail, P = 0.05; wing, P = 0.02). Injuries to the head were minimal in all treatments. These results suggest that turkey poults may be kept with minimal injurious pecking, under fluorescent light at an intensity of 10 lux, with appropriate environmental enrichment.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; INJURIOUS PECKING; LIGHT INTENSITY; LIGHT SOURCE; TURKEYS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-05-01

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