PoultryUSA - April 2018 - 29
GUTS TO GROW
ENGAGEMENTS, NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS
Add plant power
to your feeding
in a post-AGP
Engagements like this device allow birds to express
natural behaviors such as perching and supposedly
lead to better animal welfare. Terrence O'Keefe
the birds can't express their desired behaviors, it can lead
to anxiety, abnormal behaviors, worse health and perhaps
changes in its neural development. This can possibly affect future generations, too.
Mench said, broilers, are bred for appetite so they are highly motivated to eat and drink. The challenge, then, is to find
out how motivated broilers are to perform other behaviors and
whether their bodies or environments deny those desires.
Layers, for example, want to perch because it's how
they avoid predators in the wild. Do broilers, she asked,
want to perch but are unable to do so because of the size
of their bodies, or are they just unmotivated to perch at
all? It is also important to remember that broilers are juvenile birds, Mench said, because young galliformes hide on
the ground rather than perch in trees.
From a nutrition standpoint, Shepard said he takes issue with vegetarian diets recommended in some animal
welfare programs. In nature, he said, chickens hunt for
and eat insects. They want animal protein in their diet.
The birds are happy on both conventional and vegetarian
diet programs in his experience, but if natural is the goal
the chickens want some kind of meat in their diet. ■
April 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
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