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Tahmasbi Sarvestani, Diana, 2024. Follow the cues : using visual and auditory stimuli to promote utilization of resources and behavioural synchrony in pullets. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Institutionen för tillämpad husdjursvetenskap och välfärd



Rearing pullets without a broody hen poses some welfare challenges because the absence of a mother hen reduces the guidance provided to chicks, making it harder for them to find and use proper resources effectively, along with synchronizing their behaviour. This deficiency in guidance may lead to feather pecking in later stages, a significant concern within the layer industry.
This experiment aims to assess the efficacy of various methods providing visual and auditory cues of a broody hen, with the goal of identifying the most effective means of attracting chicks to resources and encouraging them to use the resources adequately.
A total of 240 1-day-old layer-type female chicks (Bovan white) were utilized in two replicates and randomly assigned to one of four rearing treatments: 1) the Audio group, involving auditory playback of broody hen feed and resting calls in the feed and rest zones; 2) the Video + Audio group, incorporating both audio and video playback of a broody hen in the feed and rest area; 3) the Video group, where only video playback is presented in the feed and resting areas; and 4) the Control group, featuring no audio or video playback. Feeding and resting cues were presented at different periods during the day. Chicks' behaviour was recorded for 5 h in the morning and 5 h in the evening. Video analysis was done on days 5, 10, and 15. Data were analysed using least square means and Tukey’s HSD test for post hoc comparisons.
The results indicate that the number of birds observed in the high-response area in relation to feeding cues in the Video + Audio and Video groups was approximately twice that of chicks observed in the same area in the Audio and Control groups during the Feed period (P≤0.05). Around 71 percent of chicks in the Video + Audio group were attracted to the High Response area in relation to resting cues, with no significant difference between this group and the Video group (P≤0.05). While, this percentage for the Audio group was around 56%, and for the Control group, it was about 52%.Significantly more chicks exhibited feed pecking behaviour when feeding cues were presented in both Video + Audio and Video groups compare to the time with no cues or during resting cues at 5 and 10 days of age (P≤0.05).
Additionally, chicks showed noticeably increased laydown behavior in the nothing period (excluding the Video group), as well as during the resting period and in treatments without any screens (P ≤ 0.05). The Video + Audio group and Video group (during the feed period and nothing period) displayed the lowest laydown behavior (P ≤ 0.05). In conclusion, the Video+ Audio and Video groups proved to be the most effective means of attracting and encouraging chicks to engage in feed pecking in the feed area during the feed period. Chicks exhibited more laydown behavior during the nothing and resting periods, except for the Video group, and in treatments without screens (P ≤ 0.05). The results further reveal that the Video + Audio and Video groups successfully synchronized the behaviour of chicks, with the majority exhibiting similar behaviours when specific cues were played. There were no differences in body weight between treatments.

Main title:Follow the cues
Subtitle:using visual and auditory stimuli to promote utilization of resources and behavioural synchrony in pullets
Authors:Tahmasbi Sarvestani, Diana
Supervisor:Hernandez, Carlos and Nielsen, Per Peetz
Examiner:Yngvesson, Erika
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VM006 Animal Science - Master's Programme
Supervising department:(VH) > Institutionen för tillämpad husdjursvetenskap och välfärd
Keywords:Attractiveness of cues, Audio playback, Auditory stimuli, Broody hen, Feather pecking, Feed call, Feeding cues, Rest call, Resting cues, Video playback, Visual stimuli
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Deposited On:08 Apr 2024 07:40
Metadata Last Modified:09 Apr 2024 01:01

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