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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2002

No effect of social competition on sham dustbathing in furnished cages for laying hens

Olsson IAS, Keeling LJ


Furnished cages equipped with a nest, a perch and a dustbath have been developed in response to the demand for improved hen welfare in combination with retained profit in egg production. However, the desired welfare improvement requires that the resources are provided in such a way that the hens can use them. Sham dustbathing behaviour on the wire floor is common in furnished cages despite the presence of a dustbath with litter and we tested the hypothesis that such sham dustbathing may be a result of social competition for limited dustbathing space. No support for this hypothesis was found since very little sham dustbathing took place when the dustbath was occupied by another hen. The findings are discussed in the light of previous research, on the effect of early experience

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2002, Volume: 52, number: 4, pages: 253-256