The impact of infrared beak treatment on the production, behaviour, and welfare of layer pullets and hens
Struthers, Sarah 1992-
MetadataShow full item record
Two experiments were conducted to determine the effects of infrared beak treatments (IRBT) on the productivity and welfare of Lohmann LSL-Lite and Lohmann Brown pullets and hens. Birds were treated on day of hatch and IRBT equipment settings were adjusted to create 4 specific beaks shapes: shovel (SHV), step (STP), standard (STAN), and an untreated sham control (C). Experiment 1 pullets were housed in cages from 1 to 29 d of age. Data collected included body weight (BW), feed intake (FI), feed efficiency (FE), water disappearance (WD), pecking force (PF), beak length, age of beak sloughing, behavioural expression, and mortality. Experiment 2 pullets were housed in floor pens from 1 d to 18 wk of age. Data collected included BW, behavioural expression, and mortality. At 18 wk, pullets were transferred to layer barn. Experiment 2 hens were housed in cages until 60 wk of age. Data collected included BW, FI, egg production (EP) and quality (EQ), behavioural expression, feather cover, comb damage, and mortality. During early life, IRBT treatments did not negatively affect FI, FE, or BW. STP and STAN pullets had lower WD than C pullets when given access to water via nipple drinkers but this did not result in reduced growth. The IRBT treatments did not affect PF, suggesting that pullets were not in pain. During the first 5 wk of the rearing period, STAN pullets were more active but performed less exploratory pecking than C pullets. There was no effect of IRBT treatments on mortality during early life. Throughout the laying period, there was no effect of IRBT treatments on production. At 23 wk of age, SHV and STP hens preened more in comparison to C hens; no effect of IRBT treatments on behaviour was seen after this time. The IRBT treatments reduced feather loss, comb damage, and mortality from cannibalism. During both the rearing and laying periods, strain appeared to have more of an effect than the IRBT treatments on production and behaviour. In conclusion, the IRBT treatments and subsequent beak shapes had minor effects on the productivity and behaviour of the pullets and hens while simultaneously improving welfare by improving feather cover and reducing mortality.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentAnimal and Poultry Science
CommitteeClassen, Hank; Gomis, Susantha; Brook, Ryan; Carney, Valerie
Copyright DateSeptember 2018