Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Influence of feed structure and composition on feeding pattern in laying hens

Feed characteristics can influence behaviour in laying hens. Twelve hens (ISA-Brown, 56th to 68t th week of age) were used to analyse feeding patterns. Three diets, different in structure (fine vs. coarse particle size distribution) and composition (isoenergetic replacement of starch by fibre and fat) were tested. Diurnal distributions of number, size and duration of meals, feed consumption and feeding time per hour were registered . Fine structured feed resulted in Ionger feeding times per day than coarse diets. Feed composition had less influence on feeding patterns. Feed with fine particle size distribution can be recommended to reduce occurrence of feather pecking because of increased occupation by feeding.

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