Measuring Latency to Feed of Broilers After Exposure to an Environmental Enrichment Device
Leg lameness is a prevalent welfare concern in broiler chickens, and biologically-relevant environmental enrichment designed to increase physical activity and decrease leg disorders is lacking. Therefore, a novel enrichment device was developed with the objective to motivate broilers to voluntarily move, thus improving leg health, production outcomes, and overall animal well-being. Research completed thus far has shown that the enrichment device was successful in improving performance. The work described here aims to validate that the change in these performance outcomes, particularly feed intake, was due to the enrichment itself, and to study if the device directly led to the birds to the feeder. Results show that in the first 9 days, 71% of birds went to the feeder during 4-min enrichment periods or within 5 mins following enrichment. Over weeks 1-6, 61% of birds went to the feeder during or within 5 mins after the enrichment periods. These data indicate that the environmental enrichment was successful in leading birds to the feeder and improving performance.