H/L ratio as a measurement of stress in laying hens - methodology and reliability.

LENTFER, T L; PENDL, H; Gebhardt, Sabine; FRÖHLICH, E K F; VON BORELL, E (2015). H/L ratio as a measurement of stress in laying hens - methodology and reliability. British poultry science, 56(2), pp. 157-163. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/00071668.2015.1008993

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Measuring the ratio of heterophils and lymphocytes (H/L) in response to different stressors is a standard tool for assessing long-term stress in laying hens but detailed information on the reliability of measurements, measurement techniques and methods, and absolute cell counts is often lacking. Laying hens offered different sites of the nest boxes at different ages were compared in a two-treatment crossover experiment to provide detailed information on the procedure for measuring and the difficulties in the interpretation of H/L ratios in commercial conditions. H/L ratios were pen-specific and depended on the age and aviary system. There was no effect for the position of the nest. Heterophiles and lymphocytes were not correlated within individuals. Absolute cell counts differed in the number of heterophiles and lymphocytes and H/L ratios, whereas absolute leucocyte counts between individuals were similar. The reliability of the method using relative cell counts was good, yielding a correlation coefficient between double counts of r > 0.9. It was concluded that population-based reference values may not be sensitive enough to detect individual stress reactions and that the H/L ratio as an indicator of stress under commercial conditions may not be useful because of confounding factors and that other, non-invasive, measurements should be adopted.

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)

UniBE Contributor:

Gebhardt, Sabine

ISSN:

0007-1668

Publisher:

Taylor & Francis

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jeremy Davidson Bailoo

Date Deposited:

17 Jun 2016 13:38

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 12:14

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/00071668.2015.1008993

PubMed ID:

25622692

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.82574

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82574

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