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Behavioural Implications of Precision Feeding Broiler Breeders

  • Author / Creator
    Gilmet, Teryn Evelyn Renee McFarlane
  • Broiler breeders require feed restriction to maintain high production rates of hatching eggs. However, feed restriction, conventionally managed during the rearing period through skip-a-day feeding, creates welfare concerns as broiler breeders exhibit behaviours indicative of hunger and frustration. A novel precision broiler breeder feeding system provided small individual meals to each bird multiple times throughout a day, only if their BW was less than a target BW. The primary objective of this thesis was to determine the behavioural consequences of precision feeding broiler breeders in comparison to a conventional, skip-a-day feeding schedule. As such, this thesis did not measure physiological indicators of hunger as a result of feed restriction nor did it focus on internal factors (e.g. genetics) that impact hunger motivation in broiler breeders. Instead, objectives focused on the external factors (i.e. allocation of restricted feed) related to broiler breeder hunger motivation. The behavioural indicators of hunger motivation are referred to as perception of hunger in this thesis. Two experiments were run concurrently to examine and compare measures of perceived hunger, and therefore hunger motivation, including: restlessness, dust-bathing, foraging, object pecking, feather pecking, aggression, and social order fluctuations. Behaviour observations suggest that precision feeding reduced, but did not eliminate hunger motivation and may have the potential to better satisfy foraging frustration in broiler breeders, compared to skip-a-day feeding. However, precision feeding increased aggression compared to skip-a-day feeding. Therefore, it appears that while precision feeding decreased hunger motivation of broiler breeders, it does not appear to have fully eliminated hunger-related frustration.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R30R9M897
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
  • Specialization
    • Animal Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Zuidhof, Martin (Poultry Systems Modelling)
    • Bench, Clover (Applied Ethology/Animal Behaviour)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Schwean-Lardner, Karen (Animal and Poultry Science)
    • Korver, Doug (Poultry Nutrition)