Measuring Latency to Feed of Broilers After Exposure to an Environmental Enrichment Device

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Barkley, Marydith
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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University Honors Program

The Honors project is potentially the most valuable component of an Honors education. Typically Honors students choose to do their projects in their area of study, but some will pick a topic of interest unrelated to their major.

The Honors Program requires that the project be presented at a poster presentation event. Poster presentations are held each semester. Most students present during their senior year, but may do so earlier if their honors project has been completed.

This site presents project descriptions and selected posters for Honors projects completed since the Fall 2015 semester.


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.