1968 one-day old chicks of Isa brown hybrid were kept in an aviary system (Natura Typ AZ-187), which was divided in four groups of 492 animals each. At day 1, half of the animals were beak-trimmed by hot cut, whereas the beaks of the other chicks remained intact. At the beginning of week 16, 1500 pullets (375 animals per unit) were moved to a layer shed equipped with an aviary system of Rihs Boleg II-type, which was also divided in four units.<br>During the rearing period up to day 105, beak-trimming was followed only by minor effects on animal weight (- 2.5 %), weight uniformity (+ 4.4 %), food consumption (- 1.1 %) and mortality rate (1.2 vs. 1.6 %).<br>Due to beak-trimming at day 1, egg production was increased (+ 2.9 %) from week 21 to week 63, while food consumption and feed efficiency were lowered by 5.2 % and 7.4 %, respectively. Egg weight was hardly influenced by the beak treatment, but the percentage of normal eggs (53 – 65 g) was increased by 5.5 %. Mortality rate of the beak-trimmed hens was lowered by factor 5.6 (2.2 vs. 12.3 %), which was mainly due to a reduction of cannibalism-related mortality (0.3 vs. 7.5 %). Plumage condition of the non-beak-trimmed hens worsened drastically during the laying period, whereas beak-trimmed hens kept an acceptable feathering condition up to the end of the trial in week 63.<br>It can be concluded, that beak-trimming at day 1 is an effective tool in lowering feather pecking and cannibalism if understood as a palliative. Considering the effects on mortality and plumage condition, beak-trimming is also of great importance relating to the animal protection topic.
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.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.