Ranging Behaviour of Commercial Free-Range Broiler Chickens 1: Factors Related to Flock Variability.

Taylor, Peta S; Hemsworth, Paul H; Groves, Peter J; Gebhardt, Sabine; Rault, Jean-Loup (2017). Ranging Behaviour of Commercial Free-Range Broiler Chickens 1: Factors Related to Flock Variability. Animals, 7(7) MDPI 10.3390/ani7070054

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Little is known about the ranging behaviour of chickens. Understanding ranging behaviour is required to improve management and shed and range design to ensure optimal ranging opportunities. Using Radio Frequency Identification technology, we tracked 300 individual broiler chickens in each of four mixed sex ROSS 308 flocks on one commercial farm across two seasons. Ranging behaviour was tracked from the first day of range access (21 days of age) until 35 days of age in winter and 44 days of age in summer. Range use was higher than previously reported from scan sampling studies. More chickens accessed the range in summer (81%) than winter (32%;< 0.05). On average, daily frequency and duration of range use was greater in summer flocks (4.4 ± 0.1 visits for a total of 26.3 ± 0.8 min/day) than winter flocks (3.2 ± 0.2 visits for a total of 7.9 ± 1.0 min/day). Seasonal differences were only marginally explained by weather conditions and may reflect the reduction in range exposure between seasons (number of days, hours per day, and time of day). Specific times of the day (< 0.01) and pop-holes were favoured (< 0.05). We provide evidence of relationships between ranging and external factors that may explain ranging preferences.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

UniBE Contributor:

Gebhardt, Sabine

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2076-2615

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jeremy Davidson Bailoo

Date Deposited:

22 May 2018 17:26

Last Modified:

22 May 2018 17:26

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/ani7070054

PubMed ID:

28726734

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) meat chicken outdoor pasture poultry range welfare

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.113685

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/113685

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