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Title: Feed particle selection and nutrient intake altered by pecking stone consumption and beak length in free-range laying hens
Contributor(s): Iqbal, Zafar  (author); Drake, Kelly  (author); Swick, Robert A  (author)orcid ; Perez-Maldonado, Rider A (author); Ruhnke, Isabelle  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019-06
Early Online Version: 2018-05-31
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.aninu.2018.05.003Open Access Link
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Abstract: The present study investigated the effects of pecking stones on feeding behaviour of hens from 16 to 46 weeks of age. Eighteen flocks of Hy-Line Brown hens were housed in 2 commercial free-range housing systems. Farm A housed 10 flocks of beak trimmed (infrared beak treatment) hens in fixed sheds. Farm B housed 8 flocks of hens with intact beaks in mobile sheds. On each farm, flocks were equally assigned to control groups (no access to pecking stones) and treatment groups (access to pecking stones). Data were evaluated every 10 weeks. At each time point, 10 hens per flock were housed in individual pens, and each hen was provided with 250 g of mash diet and ad libitum water for 24 h. After 24 h, feed samples were collected and used to determine 24-h feed intake. Nutrient and particle selection was measured by subtracting nutrients and particles present in the leftover feed from the vaules obtained in the offered feed and expressed the change (Δ). In addition, pecking stone consumption was recorded for each flock. Data were analysed separately for each farm using fixed effects of pecking stone availability and hen age. Spearman's rho correlation coefficients and linear regression models were constructed to evaluate the relationship of beak length and pecking stone usage, discrete mean particle size (dMEAN) consumption (Δ dMEAN), and Δ nutrient intake. Hens with access to pecking stones consumed significantly lower quantities of large feed particles (>2.8 mm) on farm A (P = 0.029) and selected significantly more fine particles, on farm B (P = 0.013). Overall, positive relationships (P = 0.001) between beak length and pecking stone consumption, Δ dMEAN, and Δ phosphorus consumption were observed. In conclusion, pecking stone consumption resulted in reduced selection and consumption of feed particles in hens housed on both farms. Further research is warranted to investigate the effect of pecking stones on sensory innervation of the beak.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Nutrition, 5(2), p. 140-147
Publisher: Zhongguo Xumu Shouyi Xuehui [Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine]
Place of Publication: China
ISSN: 2405-6545
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 070204 Animal Nutrition
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 300303 Animal nutrition
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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