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Effects of commercial hatchery processing on short- and long-term stress responses in laying hens
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (AVIAN Behav Physiol and Genom Grp)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 2367Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In commercial egg production, chicks are exposed to a potentially stressful procedure during their first day of life. Here, we investigated how this procedure affects the chickens in a short-as well as long-term perspective by conducting two behaviour tests and measuring corticosterone (CORT) and sex hormone levels at different time points. These results were compared with a group of control chickens from the same hatchery and incubator that did not go through the commercial hatchery routine. Chickens were continuously weighed, egg production data was collected and feather scoring was performed. We found that chicks have a significant increase in CORT during the hatchery process, which implies they are exposed to stress. During first weeks of life, these chicks were more fearful, had a higher CORT reactivity during restraint and weighed more than control chicks. Later in life, hatchery treated chickens had more feather damages and injuries on combs and wattles, a faster onset of egg laying and higher levels of estradiol. We conclude that processing at the commercial hatchery was a stressful event with short-and long-term effects on behaviour and stress reactivity, and potentially also positive effects on production. The results are relevant for a large number of individuals, since the chicken is by far the globally most common farm animal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP , 2019. Vol. 9, article id 2367
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-154998DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-38817-yISI: 000459094800048PubMedID: 30787406OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-154998DiVA, id: diva2:1297540
Note

Funding Agencies|Formas [2016-01728]

Available from: 2019-03-20 Created: 2019-03-20 Last updated: 2019-08-22

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