The Effect of a 'Freedom Food' Enrichment on the Behaviour of Broilers on Commercial Farms

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Abstract:

The effect of an environmental enrichment — straw bales — on the behaviour of growing broiler chicks was investigated by comparing the behaviour of broilers kept in matched pairs of houses on commercial farms with and without bales. The birds provided with bales perched on them and clustered around them. The most striking result, however, was that, even away from the bales, birds in the enriched houses were more active (showing more walking and running and less sitting) than birds in unenriched houses. The study provides support for the 'Freedom Food' recommendation that activity in commercially kept indoor chickens can be increased by providing environmental enrichment in the form of straw bales.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; BROILERS; CHICKENS; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; POULTRY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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