Effect of social order, perch, and dust-bath allocation on behavior in laying hens

  • Wang, Yanan (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhang, Runxiang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Wang, Lisha (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Li, Jianhong (College of Life Science, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Su, Yingying (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Li, Xiang (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University) ;
  • Bao, Jun (College of Animal Science and Technology, Northeast Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2021.04.25
  • Accepted : 2021.06.19
  • Published : 2022.02.01


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of different social ranking order (SRO) and the enrichments (perch and dust-bath) allocation (EA) on behavior of laying hens in furnished cages. Methods: Total experimental period was 4 weeks. There were 216 Hy-line brown layers beak-trimmed at 1 d of age and selected randomly at 14 weeks of age from a commercial farm, and randomly divided into 36 cages with 6 hens in each cage. High enrichments (perch and dust-bath) allocation (HEA) and low enrichments (perch and dust-bath) allocation (LEA) were provided. Video observations of behavior were obtained from the focal hens between 14 and 18 weeks of age and perching, dust-bathing and other general behaviors of the hens with different social orders were measured. Results: Perching behavior of high SRO hens (HSR) were significantly higher than that of medium SRO hens (MSR), and that of the MSR were significantly higher than that of low SRO hens (LSR) (p<0.01), except for lying on perch (p>0.05). The hens in the high EA cage (HEAC) showed more lying behavior on perch than those in the low EA cage (LEAC) (p<0.01). The different SRO and EA did not affect dust-bathing behavior except vertical wing-shaking behavior (p<0.05). The LEA did not affect general behaviors (p>0.05), except standing and preening behaviors (p<0.01 and p<0.05), of which the hens in the HEAC showed less standing (p<0.01) and more preening behavior than the hens in the LEAC. Conclusion: The SRO of laying hens has a significant effect on the perching behaviors, but SRO and EA have little effect on dust-bathing and general behaviors.



The authors are grateful for the support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 31672466).


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