STUDIES ON THE WELFARE CONDITION PROVIDED TO LAYING HENS WITHIN ALTERNATIVE HUSBANDRY SYSTEMS
M.G. Usturoi, R.M. Radu-Rusu, Roxana Lazăr
The researches focused on the assessment of welfare condition (health status and biochemical blood parameters) provided to hens within certain husbandry systems. The investigations were carried on 4698 "Hisex Brown" laying hens, allocated in 5 groups which differed through rearing technology (Lc: B.P.-3 classic battery, 500 cm2/hen; Lexp-1: B.P.-3 battery with enlarged cages, 1000 cm2/hen; Lexp-2: B.P.-3 battery without wired front panels, freedom of movement across the entire hall; Lexp-3: deep litter husbandry, 0.167 m2/hen; Lexp-4: deep litter husbandry, hall opened to outer paddock, 0.133 m2/hen). Flock casualties were negatively correlated to accommodation space, reaching 12.08% in hens accommodated in standard battery (Lc group), compared to just 8.08% in those reared in "free range" system. Although they received the smallest husbandry area, the hens in Lc group achieved best eggs yield, whereas lower blood serum levels for cholesterol (9.99-37.49% less), triglycerides (0.96-3.17% less), calcium (8.45-35.9% less) and phosphorus (18.62-36.16% less), compared to the levels found in other groups hens. The study concluded that the alternative husbandry systems comply the fowl welfare wish, providing them freedom of movement and elements from the natural environment, while they do not generate satisfactory productive responses.
Key words: hen, husbandry, alternative, health, welfare