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International Journal of Poultry Science

.: Home > International Journal of Poultry Science > 2009 > Volume 8 Number 7 > J-M. Larivière, M. Vandenheede and P. Leroy

Effects of Food Restriction on Rearing Performance and Welfare of a Slow-Growing Chicken Breed: a Behavioural Approach

J-M. Larivière, M. Vandenheede and P. Leroy
Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Abstract :

The purpose of this experiment was to investigate production and welfare implications of food
restriction during the rearing period of a slow-growing chicken. Ninety-four as-hatched day-old Ardennaise
chicks were raised up to two weeks of age and were then allocated to two treatment groups: Ad libitum
Feeding (AL) and a Feed Restriction Regime (FR). Body weight, food usage and viability were recorded on
a weekly basis from 1-12 weeks of age. Activity and oral behaviours were measured at 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12
weeks of age. Number of birds involved in each of twelve mutually exclusive behavioural categories was
recorded. Mean proportion of time spent for each activity was calculated. Significance of effects of treatment, age, time of day and their interactions were measured. At 12 weeks of age, mean body weight was 1117 g (± 189.3 g) (AL) and 1054 g (±187.8 g) (FR). Food usage was 4.16 kg (AL) and 3.43 kg (FR) per bird. Feeding treatment had strong effects on preening (p<0.001), feeder directed activity, litter scratching and pecking floor (p<0.01) and pacing (p<0.05), all activity levels being higher in the FR treatment except for feeder directed activity. Age had strong effects on sitting (p<0.001), standing and litter scratching (p<0.01). Sitting (p<0.01) and litter scratching (p<0.05) varied with treatment-age interaction.

Keywords :
Behaviour, food restriction, slow-growing chicken breeds, welfare

Date Deposited : 06 Jul 2011 08:57

Last Modified : 06 Jul 2011 08:57

Official URL:

Volume 8, Number 7, - 2009 , ISSN 1682-8356

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