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Louton, Helen; Rauch, Elke; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Erhard, Michael H.; Bergmann, Shana (31. May 2016): Effect of Perch Height and Position on the Usage in Enriched Colony Housing Systems for Laying Hens. In: Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology, Vol. 7, No. 339
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Abstract

In order to determine the utility of different perches in enriched colony housing systems for laying hens, the use of perches and an effect of the type and location in the system was examined in this behavioral study. Laying hens of the line Lohmann Selected Leghorn were housed in four different enriched colony housing systems which differed particularly in the alignment and arrangement of the functional areas. For analysis, perches were grouped into three types: low, low underneath the drinking trough and high. To evaluate the use of the perch types, video recordings were taken for 48 hours during three observation periods. These recordings were analyzed hourly at daytime and twice at nighttime. Through scan sampling, the overall number of hens using the perches and the fraction of hens per meter on a specific perch type were assessed. At nighttime, an average 62% of the laying hens used the perches. On average, 24% of the laying hens used the perches at daytime, with no significant difference between the different systems. Low perches that were not installed underneath the drinking trough were less commonly used than high perches. However, the hens used low perches that were positioned underneath the drinking trough more than other perch types during the day. At nighttime, high perches were used frequently and, depending on the system, more than the low perches. It should be considered that the hens used the low perches underneath the drinking trough during the day not to rest but rather to have better access to the drinking trough. It can be recommended that a sufficient number of high perches should be offered, so that all hens have access to these obviously preferred perches. If perches are installed underneath the drinking trough, it should be considered if additional perch space should be offered.