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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 8 October 2001 Issue

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Poultry Management and Behavior:
Behavior and Performance

battery2.jpg (18556 bytes)27 Comparison of behavior and performance of laying hens housed in battery cages and an aviary.

Abstract: Experiments were carried out to study the behavior and production performance of hens housed in battery cages (3 birds X 112 cages) and an aviary (437 birds).  Direct visual observations and videotapings of hen behavior were collected at 24 to 25, 36 to 37, 49 to 50, and 61 to 62 wk of age.  Production data were collected daily.  Stereotyped behaviors were much more frequent (P < .01) in the battery cages (7.0 to 24.7%) than in the aviary (1.0 to 2.7%).  Comfort behaviors were performed by aviary birds (3.9 to 5.5%) much more frequently (P < .01) than by the caged birds (.7 to .9%).  The birds were more active during a few hours before dark and just after light in both cages and the aviary.  batthen1.jpg (13317 bytes)In both groups, the production performance of hens was similar and relatively high.  The results of the current study indicate that aviaries provide a more comfortable environment for birds and almost the same productivity per bird as battery cages.

(This study was performed with only three hens per cage.  As can be seen in these actual production photos, there are far more hens per cage (perhaps 6-8).   Logic would lead to the conclusion that there would be far more behavioral problems under actual conditions. Our thanks to United Poultry Concerns, Inc. for the photos. )

batthen2.jpg (37385 bytes)Reference:

27) NAL Call. No.: 47.8 AM33P Comparison of behavior and performance of laying hens housed in battery cages and an aviary. Tanaka, T.; Hurnik, J.F. Champaign, Ill. : Poultry Science Association; 1992 Feb. Poultry science v. 71 (2): p. 235-243; 1992 Feb. Includes references.

SOURCE: http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/oldbib/qb9505.htm

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