WELFARE ASSESSMENT OF COMMERCIAL LAYERS IN SLOVENIA

Olga Zorman Rojs, Alenka Dovč, Hristo Hristov, Matjaž Červek, Brigita Slavec, Uroš Krapež, Zoran Žlabravec, Jožko Račnik, Manja Zupan

Abstract


Here we present the first welfare assessment of commercial layers conducted in Slovenia. Hens were assessed in four systems at the beginning of the laying period at 22 to 24 weeks and at 50 to 55 weeks of age. These systems were an enriched battery cage system, an aviary, and a litter system with or without outdoor access. Clinical inspections of flocks were performed, and animal-based welfare indicators were scored (e.g., keel bone damage, feather condition, foot pad lesions, beak deformities, and comb and skin wounds). Hens’ fear level was scored using the novel object test and avoidance distance test. Among resource-based measures, selected micro-climate parameters were measured.
The results showed no obvious clinical signs related to infectious diseases and suggest that the selected climate conditions were satisfying in all systems. Among animal-based welfare indicators, keel bone damage was shown to be the most serious problem connected with hens’ age and housing systems (p < 0.05). Enriched cages and aviary system were associated with significantly more keel deformities compared to the litter systems (p < 0.05). In addition, the least prevalence of foot pad dermatitis together with better feather condition was observed in the litter systems. In the family-owned aviary facility, hens were found to be the most motivated to approach a novel object or a human, and as such were recognized as the least fearful birds, with better human–animal interaction compared to other intensive housing systems.

Key words: laying hens; welfare; health; housing system


OCENA DOBROBITI V INTENZIVNIH REJAH KOKOŠI NESNIC V SLOVENIJI

Povzetek: Opravili smo prvo celovito oceno dobrobiti kokoši nesnic v Sloveniji. V raziskavo smo vključili nesnice iz štirih različnih sistemov reje in raven dobrobiti ocenili v dveh starostnih obdobjih; na začetku nesnosti, v starosti od 22 do 24 tednov in pri 50 do 55 tednih. Nesnice so bile rejene v obogatenih kletkah, v voljerah, v talni reji brez možnosti izpusta in v talni reji z možnostjo izpusta. Ob vsakem ocenjevanju smo jate klinično pregledali in s pregledom posameznih živali ocenili specifične indikatorje dobrega počutja (poškodbe prsnice, operjenost, poškodbe podplatnih blazinic, deformacije kljuna in poškodbe grebena ter kože). Plašnost kot indikator socialnega obnašanja smo ocenili s testom novega predmeta in s testom odmika od človeka. Spremljali smo tudi mikro-klimatske pogoje reje.
Ves čas spremljanja nismo ugotovili vidnih kliničnih znakov kužnih obolenj. Rezultati meritev mikro-klimatskih parametrov nakazujejo, da so bili pogoji v rejah dobri. Poškodba prsnice se je izmed specifičnih kazalnikov izkazala za najresnejši problem, na katerega vplivata tako starost kot sistem reje (p < 0,05). Poškodbe prsnice so bile značilno bolj izražene pri kokoših iz obogatenih kletk in voljer (p < 0,05) v primerjavi z nesnicami iz talnih rej. Kokoši iz talnih sistemov so bile tudi boljše operjene in so imele nižjo prevalenco poškodb na podplatnih blazinicah. Nesnice, ki so bile rejene v voljerah na družinski kmetiji, so kazale največ zanimanja za nove predmete in človeka. Te kokoši so bile ocenjene kot najmanj plašne in so izražale boljšo interakcijo človek–žival kot kokoši iz drugih primerjanih sistemov.

Ključne besede: kokoši nesnice; dobrobit; zdravje; sistem reje


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26873/SVR-971-2020

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