Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The effect of stocking density on the welfare and behaviour of broiler chickens reared commercially.

Abstract

The effect of 2 levels of house stocking density (34 kg/m2 and 40 kg/m2) on welfare and behaviour was studied in broilers. 121 900 birds were housed in 8 flocks under commercial conditions and a range of behavioural and productivity parameters were measured to assess welfare. At the higher stocking density daily mortality at rearing period was greater, the incidence of leg problems, contact dermatitis and carcass bruising increased, resting behaviour was increasingly disturbed, locomotion and ground pecking decreased, and lying and preening patterns were affected, probably due to increased disruption by other birds. Aspects of welfare were adversely affected at the higher stocking density.