Birds from Rhode Island Red (RIR) origin show a lower fear response and less feather pecking than birds from White Leghorn (WL) origin. This study investigated whether responses in fear eliciting tests were affected if RIR and WL birds were housed together. Experimental groups contained either birds from one line only ('pure' groups) or an equal number of RIR and WIL birds ('mixed' groups). These arrangements were maintained from hatch onwards, throughout the rearing and laying period. Birds were subjected to open held tests at 5-6 weeks and 17-18 weeks of age and to manual restraint tests at 7-8 weeks and 24 weeks of age. RIR birds were more active in both open field tests and in the manual restraint test at 24 weeks of age as compared with WL birds. RIR birds from pure groups were more active in the open field test at 17-18 weeks and in the manual restraint test at 24 weeks of age than RIR birds from mixed groups. These results suggest that otherwise low fearful RIR birds may adopt a higher fear response if they are housed together with more fearful conspecifics. These effects do not emerge until after 8 weeks of age. Published by Elsevier B.V.
|Translated title of the contribution||Effects of mixed housing of birds from two genetic lines of laying hens on open field and manual restraint responses|
|Pages (from-to)||13 - 18|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2008|