Traditionally, broiler chickens hatch in the hatchery and they are usually not provided with feed and water until placement at the farm. This can have negative effects on their health and welfare. Therefore, alternative systems providing early nutrition, for instance by hatching eggs in a poultry house (on-farm hatching) are increasingly being used in practice. However, information on the behaviour and welfare of on-farm hatched chickens in relation to hatchery-hatched chickens is very limited. This study aims to gain basic knowledge of the behaviour of on-farm hatched chickens (OH) by comparing them to a control group (C) hatched in the hatchery. In addition, fear-related responses were assessed as indicators of chicken welfare.
Comparative assessment of general behaviour and fear-related responses in hatchery-hatched and on-farm hatched broiler chickens
Mona F.Giersberga; Ilse Poolen; Kris de Baere; Henk Gunnink; Theo van Hattum; Johan W.van Riel; Ingrid C.de Jong