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Animal Welfare and Food Safety Aspects of Confining Broiler Chickens to Cages.

Shields S, Greger M - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: Cage environments are usually stocked at a higher density than open floor systems, and the limited studies available suggest that caging may lead to increased levels of fear and stress in the birds.Further, birds reared on the floor appear less likely to harbor and shed Salmonella, as litter may serve as a seeding agent for competitive exclusion by other microorganisms.Cages for laying hens used in egg production have met with substantial opposition due to welfare concerns and caging broiler chickens will likely be subject to the same kinds of social disapproval.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Humane Society International, Farm Animals, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA. sshields@hsi.org.

ABSTRACT
In most areas of the world, broiler chickens are raised in floor systems, but cage confinement is becoming more common. The welfare of broiler chickens in cages is affected by movement restriction, poor bone strength due to lack of exercise, and prevention of key behavioral patterns such as dustbathing and ground scratching. Cages for broiler chickens also have a long history of causing skin and leg conditions that could further compromise welfare, but a lack of controlled studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions about newer cage designs. Cage environments are usually stocked at a higher density than open floor systems, and the limited studies available suggest that caging may lead to increased levels of fear and stress in the birds. Further, birds reared on the floor appear less likely to harbor and shed Salmonella, as litter may serve as a seeding agent for competitive exclusion by other microorganisms. Cages for laying hens used in egg production have met with substantial opposition due to welfare concerns and caging broiler chickens will likely be subject to the same kinds of social disapproval.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Caged broiler chickens (Photo by Sonia Faruqi).
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animals-03-00386-f001: Caged broiler chickens (Photo by Sonia Faruqi).

Mentions: Despite the obstacles, interest in developing a cage system that works well for broiler chickens has been ongoing since the 1960s [10]. A variety of cage floor materials have been tested including plastic tubing; plastic and metal mats [5,11]; rubber-covered nylon [12]; bamboo [8]; wire, steel and plastic mesh; perforated Styrofoam; padded doweling [13]; polyester urethane foam [14]; and wooden slats [15]. In the early 1970s a composite mesh floor material was patented, which helped solve earlier problems with breast blisters and skin imperfections [6]. Large colony cages (Figure 1) now have plastic-covered nylon floors that are less abrasive, and manufacturers claim they prevent breast blisters, folliculitis, and wing and leg problems. Collection of broiler chickens at the end of the growing period can now be automated; cage floors open to drop birds onto a conveyer belt below that moves them to the end of the house where they are crated for transport.


Animal Welfare and Food Safety Aspects of Confining Broiler Chickens to Cages.

Shields S, Greger M - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Caged broiler chickens (Photo by Sonia Faruqi).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494387&req=5

animals-03-00386-f001: Caged broiler chickens (Photo by Sonia Faruqi).
Mentions: Despite the obstacles, interest in developing a cage system that works well for broiler chickens has been ongoing since the 1960s [10]. A variety of cage floor materials have been tested including plastic tubing; plastic and metal mats [5,11]; rubber-covered nylon [12]; bamboo [8]; wire, steel and plastic mesh; perforated Styrofoam; padded doweling [13]; polyester urethane foam [14]; and wooden slats [15]. In the early 1970s a composite mesh floor material was patented, which helped solve earlier problems with breast blisters and skin imperfections [6]. Large colony cages (Figure 1) now have plastic-covered nylon floors that are less abrasive, and manufacturers claim they prevent breast blisters, folliculitis, and wing and leg problems. Collection of broiler chickens at the end of the growing period can now be automated; cage floors open to drop birds onto a conveyer belt below that moves them to the end of the house where they are crated for transport.

Bottom Line: Cage environments are usually stocked at a higher density than open floor systems, and the limited studies available suggest that caging may lead to increased levels of fear and stress in the birds.Further, birds reared on the floor appear less likely to harbor and shed Salmonella, as litter may serve as a seeding agent for competitive exclusion by other microorganisms.Cages for laying hens used in egg production have met with substantial opposition due to welfare concerns and caging broiler chickens will likely be subject to the same kinds of social disapproval.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Humane Society International, Farm Animals, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA. sshields@hsi.org.

ABSTRACT
In most areas of the world, broiler chickens are raised in floor systems, but cage confinement is becoming more common. The welfare of broiler chickens in cages is affected by movement restriction, poor bone strength due to lack of exercise, and prevention of key behavioral patterns such as dustbathing and ground scratching. Cages for broiler chickens also have a long history of causing skin and leg conditions that could further compromise welfare, but a lack of controlled studies makes it difficult to draw conclusions about newer cage designs. Cage environments are usually stocked at a higher density than open floor systems, and the limited studies available suggest that caging may lead to increased levels of fear and stress in the birds. Further, birds reared on the floor appear less likely to harbor and shed Salmonella, as litter may serve as a seeding agent for competitive exclusion by other microorganisms. Cages for laying hens used in egg production have met with substantial opposition due to welfare concerns and caging broiler chickens will likely be subject to the same kinds of social disapproval.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus