In order to test whether provision of foraging material and perch height have significant effects on feather pecking and feather damage in laying hens, 16 groups of 14 hens (white, Lohman Selected Leghorn’ hybrids) were kept in experimental pens from week 19 to 30 of age. There were eight pens each with or without polystyrene blocks as foraging material and eight pens each with high or low perches (70 cm or 45 cm above floor level). Each of the four combinations of factors was assigned to four pens and statistical significance of the effects of the two factors was assessed using a two-way analysis of variance.<br>There was an increase in the rate of feather pecking interactions over time, and feather pecking was significantly more frequent in pens without than with foraging material. In addition, damage to the feathers of the lower body parts was significantly greater in hens kept in pens with low than with high perches.<br>Based on the results of this study, housing systems for laying hens should contain adequate foraging material as well as high perches to avoid welfare relevant problems with feather pecking and feather damage.
Livestock can convert grassland and by-products into valuable food. But how many animals would Switzerland need if arable land were primarily used for food production instead of animal feed?
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.