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Comparison of Behavioral Time Budget and Welfare Indicators in Two Local Laying Hen Genotypes (Atak-S and Atabey) in a Free-Range System

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  • Arda Sözcü, Uludağ University, Turkey
  • Aydin Ipek, Uludağ University, Turkey
  • Züleyha Oguz, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Turkey
  • Stefan Gunnarsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Anja Brinch Riber
Free-range systems are considered to improve bird health and welfare, thereby satisfying consumer demands. Behavioral time budget, fear level and clinical welfare indicators were compared for two Turkish laying hen genotypes, Atak-S (brown) and Atabey (white), reared in a free-range system. A total of 420 laying hens (210 Atak-S, 210 Atabey) were studied between 19 and 72 weeks of age. Higher percentages of eating and drinking behavior, feather pecking, and explorative pecking were observed for Atak-S hens, whereas Atabey hens were preening, walking–standing, and resting more. The duration of tonic immobility was longer, and the number of inductions was lower in Atabey compared with Atak-S hens. Atabey hens had less keel bone damages and better plumage conditions on the breast, wing, and tail at 56 and 72 weeks of age than Atak-S hens. Footpad dermatitis was more common in Atabey hens at 40 weeks, whereas Atak-S hens had a higher prevalence of footpad dermatitis with moderate lesions at 72 weeks of age. These findings indicate that free-range Atak-S hens may be more prone to keel bone damage and development of feather pecking, but they showed less foot lesions and were less fearful.
Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Research areas

  • behavior, dermatitis, free range, genotype, keel bone damage, welfare

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