Field report: Methods for assessing laser environmental enrichment application in commercial broilers

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2023-12-19
Authors
Meyer, M. M.
Leyk, C. A.
Tieberg, J. L.
Stephan, A. B.
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Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.
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Animal Science
Abstract
Sensory environmental enrichment aimed to induce active behavior is sparse in the literature and nonexistent in commercial broiler houses. Laser enrichment previously shown to be successful in stimulating broiler exercise while improving growth performance in a research setting was implemented in 2 commercial broiler houses. Each house contained alternating sections outfitted with 3 laser devices projecting red lasers onto the floor for 15-min periods, 4 times daily. The study objectives were to validate assessment methods of behavior, stress, and performance in a commercial setting with the overall goals to optimize the device for commercial application and determine best practices for data collection and interpretation. D 41 body weight measured in 200 birds per treatment was increased by laser enrichment (P < 0.05). Behavior analysis during 15-min laser periods showed that a greater percentage of control birds was near the feed and waterlines during laser enrichment periods. Broilers were observed near lasers for the duration of grow-out. Laser enrichment decreased vocalizations during the isolation test, a measure of fearfulness (P < 0.05). Future commercial work will focus on broiler activity and optimizing laser exposure in commercial houses across multiple flocks as well as comparing whole house data across time to determine utility in commercial settings.
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This article is published as Meyer, Meaghan M., Anna K. Johnson, Curtis A. Leyk, Jack L. Tieberg, Aaron B. Stephan, and Elizabeth A. Bobeck. "Field report: Methods for assessing laser environmental enrichment application in commercial broilers." Journal of Applied Poultry Research (2023): 100391. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.japr.2023.100391. © 2023 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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