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Article

Examination of the Usage of a New Beak-Abrasive Material in Different Laying Hen Genotypes (Preliminary Results)

1
Institute of Animal Science, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Guba Sándor Str. 40, H-7400 Kaposvár, Hungary
2
Bábolna TETRA Ltd., Radnóti Miklós Str. 16, H-2943 Bábolna, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Tufarelli
Received: 20 July 2021 / Revised: 20 September 2021 / Accepted: 24 September 2021 / Published: 29 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry: Breeding, Health, Nutrition, and Management)
The aim of the experiment was to investigate the use and effect of a new beak-abrasive material not yet examined on mortality of non-beak trimmed laying hens of different genotypes housed in an alternative pen. The study was performed on 636 females belonging to three genotypes of Bábolna TETRA Ltd. (a1 = commercial brown layer hybrid (C); a2 = purebred male line offspring group (maternal); a3 = purebfigure ed female line offspring group (paternal)). A total of 318 hens, i.e., 106 hens/genotype distributed in six pens (53 hens/pen), were evaluated. Cylindrical beak-abrasive blocks of 5.3–5.6 kg were suspended (0.1–0.4 mm diameter gravel, limestone grit, lime hydrate, and cement mixture) in six alternative pens. In six control pens without abrasive material, 318 hens, i.e., 106 hens/genotype (2 pens control group/genotype, i.e., C1 = commercial brown layer hybrid, C2 = purebred male line offspring group, C3 = purebred female line offspring group; 53 hens/pen;) were placed where there were no beak-abrasive materials. The rate of change in the weight of the beak-abrasive materials and the mortality rate were recorded daily. In the six pens equipped with beak-abrasive materials, infrared cameras were installed, and 24 h recordings were made. The number of individuals pecking the beak-abrasive material, the time and duration of dealing with the material were recorded. Data coming from one observation day are given. During the 13 experimental weeks of observation, the weight loss of beak-abrasives differed significantly in the different genotypes (a1 = 27.4%; a2 = 29.6%; a3 = 56.6%). During the only day analyzed, the hens from all the genotypes mostly stayed between 17:00 and 21:00 h in the littered scratching area where the beak-abrasive material was placed (a1 = 48.4%; a2 = 49.2%; a3 = 54.4%). In the case of each genotype, the rate of the hens dealing with beak-abrasives in the first two periods of the day was relatively low (0.2%–0.7%). Peaks of the activity were between 17:00 and 21:00 (a1 = 0.8%; a2 = 1.3%; a3 = 1.8%). The a3 dealt with the beak-abrasive materials to a significantly greater extent in the period from 13:00 to 17:00 (0.8%) and from 17:00 to 21:00 (1.8%) than the a1 (0.2% and 0.8%, respectively). Due to the use of the beak-abrasive materials, the mortality rate decreased the most in the genotypes that used them (a1 with beak-abrasive material 0.0% vs. C1 9.4%; a2 with beak-abrasive material 2.9% vs. C2 12.4%; a3 with beak-abrasive material) 15.4% vs. C3 5.7%). It can be concluded that the insertion of beak-abrasive materials increased the behavioral repertoire of hens, which is particularly beneficial from an animal welfare point of view. Further and longer-term research is needed to determine whether the insertion of the beak-abrasive material has a beneficial effect on the mortality data of the experimental groups through enrichment, either through physical abrasion of the beak or both. View Full-Text
Keywords: laying hen; non-caged; non-trimmed; beak abrasion; behavior; aggressiveness; mortality laying hen; non-caged; non-trimmed; beak abrasion; behavior; aggressiveness; mortality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Farkas, T.P.; Orbán, A.; Szász, S.; Rapai, A.; Garamvölgyi, E.; Sütő, Z. Examination of the Usage of a New Beak-Abrasive Material in Different Laying Hen Genotypes (Preliminary Results). Agriculture 2021, 11, 947. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11100947

AMA Style

Farkas TP, Orbán A, Szász S, Rapai A, Garamvölgyi E, Sütő Z. Examination of the Usage of a New Beak-Abrasive Material in Different Laying Hen Genotypes (Preliminary Results). Agriculture. 2021; 11(10):947. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11100947

Chicago/Turabian Style

Farkas, Tamás P., Attila Orbán, Sándor Szász, András Rapai, Erik Garamvölgyi, and Zoltán Sütő. 2021. "Examination of the Usage of a New Beak-Abrasive Material in Different Laying Hen Genotypes (Preliminary Results)" Agriculture 11, no. 10: 947. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11100947

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