Genotype Effect on Gentle, Severe and Aggressive Pecking Behaviours and Feather Condition in Laying Hens

Kamanlı S., Özkan S.

XVth EUROPEAN POULTRY CONFERENCE, Dubrovnik, Hırvatistan, 17 - 21 Eylül 2018, ss.558

  • Basıldığı Şehir: Dubrovnik
  • Basıldığı Ülke: Hırvatistan
  • Sayfa Sayısı: ss.558


Behaviours and Feather Condition in Laying Hens

Abstract ID: 136

S. Kamanlı2, A. Nuri Taşdemir2, Ş. Demirtaş2, E. Tülek2, M. Pekcan3, E. Kurtdede3,

H. Öztürk3, S. Özkan1

1Ege University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, İzmir, Turkey,

2Poultry Research Institute, Ankara, Turkey, 3Ankara University, Veterinary Faculty, Ankara,


Feather pecking in laying hens is a serious behavioural problem and has negative

impact on bird’s welfare and productivity. Genetics, nutritional and managemental

factors beside developmental stages of birds affecting feather pecking have long been

studied. However, there is no clear solution available by now. Therefore, this study

aimed to investigate differences in feather pecking behaviour and feather condition

of local layer hybrids that developed and commercialyy available in Ankara Poultry

Research Institute. A total of 576 hens from three genotypes namely Atabey (white

egg), Atak, and Atak-S (brown egg), 192 each, were used. Birds were kept at enriched

cages in two adjacent environmentally controlled rooms by 64 wk. Each room contained

18 cages (240×63.5×68 cm) with 16 hens each. Genotypes were represented with 6

cages per room (12 cages/genotype) as experimental unit. Observations for feather

pecking behaviour were made using video records obtained from 4 cages/genotype in 2

consequent days on 24 and 30 weeks of ages during photoperiod (14 h). However, time

sampling (1 minute in every hour) was used for data collection; and gentle, severe and

aggressive pecks given to cage mates were counted. Each bird was scored for feather

condition at the age of 64 wk. Each body part (head-upper neck, back, ramp, tail,

cloaca-abdomen, breast, and wings) was scored using a scale 0 (best) to 5 (worst).

Behaviour data were analysed by generalized estimating equations (GEE) using logistic

regression procedure (PROC GENMOD) of SAS statistical software with a model including

age, genotype, age by genotype interaction, and room effect. Cage effect was nested

within genotype and room effects. ANOVA was performed for feather condition and

the model included genotype, room, and interaction effects; and cage within room and

genotype. Statistical significance was based on P ≤0.05. Severe and aggressive pecking

counts significantly differed with genotype (P ≤0.05). Odd ratios revealed that both

brown egg layers, Atak and Atak-S, showed a higher tendency to perform severe pecks

as compared with the white egg layer Atabey (OR=3.17 and 3.44 for Atak and Atak-S

genotypes using Atabey as reference). Higher aggressive peck counts were observed in

Atak-S than Atak (OR=1.75) and Atabey (OR=2.24). Gentle feather peck counts did not

differ with genotype. There were significant differences among genotypes for feather

condition (P≤0.05) and Atabey had the best score (17.03) while Atak was worst (28.15)

and Atak-S (26.27) was intermediate.

This study has been funded by TAGEM/HAYSUD/A/16/A06/P03/01.

  • Keywords: Feather condition, Feather pecking, Genotype, Laying hens