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Automated behavioural enrichment for poultry – development of an innovative system to improve animal welfare

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Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz

Federal State

Lower Saxony and Bremen


Calenberger Straße 2
30169 Hannover

Website: External link to the authority

Project Title

Automated behavioural enrichment for poultry – development of an innovative system to improve animal welfare

Project description

Poultry industry has to face social challenges especially concerning animal welfare issues. In respect of the planned exit from beak trimming in laying hens and turkeys injuries/damages caused by behaviour disorders like feather pecking and cannibalism are rather predicted. A decisive cause for these kinds of behavioural abnormalities is thought to be the barely structured environment animals live in, which does not ensure adequate possibilities to show species-appropriate behaviour. So the aim of this project is to develop an innovative system to automatically provide enrichment to the animals. The system should be judged with regard to animal behaviour, animal health, the environment and economy, as well as to the appropriate enrichment material. Therefore, this innovative concept is expected to directly improve animal welfare in poultry. 

Results focusing on practiceorientation

Providing adequate foraging material is very important in laying hen and turkey husbandry because it encourages the animals to perform natural foraging and exploratory behavior. Technical devices may help farmers to provide enrichment material more effectively. Within the EIP-AGRI-Project PAF it could be shown that, for laying hens, such a device is a useful tool to offer enrichment to a large proportion of hens in a flock (at least to about 21%), regardless of the material applied with the device. However, additional expenses between 0.43 to 1.07 euro per hen and 16 to 40 cent per marketable egg should be taken into account. In contrast, offering enrichment material via technical device does not seem to be a suitable solution in turkey husbandry. The results of this research could show that throughout the fattening period turkeys increasingly lost their interest on whatever material they received. However, investigations primarily were made in male turkeys... (see final report)

Key words

Animal husbandry

Main funding source

Rural development 2014-2020 for Operational Groups (in the sense of Art 56 of Reg.1305/2013)

OG contact information

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover; Institut für Tierhygiene, Tierschutz und Nutztierethologie
Bischofsholer Damm 15
30173 Hannover

Phone: 0511/8568951

Email: nicole.kemper@tiho-hannover.de

Type of OG partners

  • Farmer
  • Farmer
  • Farmer

Begin of project


Project status


Total budget applied for in EUR




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