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Conference paper, 2009

Effect of enrichment, day length and natural versus artificial light on behaviour and light preference in layer chick

Gunnarsson Stefan, Valros Anna


The incidence of behavioural problems, e.g. cannibalism, in aviaries for laying hens may be decreased by appriopriate rearing of the chicks. Early exposure to perches and lighttype may influence the feeding and perching behaviour of the birds as well as their later preference for lighttype. The aim of the study was to investigate the individual differences in perching behaviour and if environmental enrichment enhances perching at an early age. Furthermore, the effect of natural and artificial light, respectively, on perching and feeding of birds was studied, as well as, the lighttype preference at 14 weeks of age. Two experiments were performed: 1. Ninety LSL-chicks were divided into three treatments: control, floor enrichment and hanging enrichment. 2. 126 day-old LSL-chicks were divided into three light treatments; I8: 8 h incandescent light/16 h darkness, I16: 16 h incandescent light/8 h darkness, N8: 8 h natural light/16 h darkness. At the age of 14 weeks, the birds' light-type preference was tested. In experiment 1, latency to perch was positively associated with time spent under the perches (p=0.01) and it was negatively associated with interacting with other chicks (p<0.01). However, perching latency was positively related to night-time roosting (p=0.02). No significant effect of enrichment was found. In experiment 2, I16 birds were feeding less than I8 birds in daytime (p<0.001). The was a tendency that N8 birds started night-time perching at a younger age than I8 bird (p=0.056). A preference for incandescent light was seen in I8 (p<0.001) but not in N8. It was found that chicks may change their feeding behaviour depending on day length. Access to natural light was found to precipitate the onset of night-time perching, and start of night-time roosting was related to early day-time perch use. Birds reared in incandescent light showed a preference for incandescent light, in contrast to birds reared in natural light

Published in

Book title: Proc. of the 14th ISAH Congress 2009
ISBN: 978-80-7399-800-4
Publisher: International Society for Animal Hygiene


14th International Congress of the International Society for Animal Hygiene (ISAH)

Authors' information

Valros, Anna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health

UKÄ Subject classification

Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science

URI (permanent link to this page)