The Effects of Environmental Enrichment on the Health, Behaviour, and Welfare of Fast-Growing Broilers
The objectives of this research were to test 1) the effects of environmental enrichments (platform, swinging scale, peckstone, suet feeder) on the health and behaviour of broilers; 2) the effects of body weight on the mobility and activity of broilers; 3) if a commercially available accelerometer, Actical®, can be used to automatically measure the activity levels of broilers. The enrichments used in this study had no effect on the body weight, mobility, or activity level of broilers according to the time spent standing during a latency-to-lie test, the number of crossings during an obstacle test, and their overall time budget. However, birds from non-enriched pens performed more play behaviour than birds from enriched pens during standardized tests, likely due to boredom which could lead to animals being more easily stimulated. Light birds had better mobility and were more active than heavy birds. Actical® is also likely a useful device to measure the activity levels of individual broilers.