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Material & method

Animals

The data collection took place during the autumn 2015 on Bosarp farm in Skåne County,  one of the farms in Sweden using Rowan Ranger in their organic production to produce KRAV certified chickens. The animals used in this study, 72 Rowan Rangers and 20 Ross 308, were all raised at Bosarp farm, fed ad libitum and had free access to water. Due to the fast growth rate, Ross 308 were fed ad libitum but were qualitative feed restricted as a way to slow down their growth rate.

The 72 Rowan Rangers were divided in two age groups of 36 animals in each group (5 and 8 weeks old). The group of 20 Ross 308 were 8 weeks old.  Both the Rowan Rangers and Ross 308 had free access to the outdoor perimeter during the day (Ross 308 from week 4 and Rowan Rangers from week 5).

Behavioural study

Behavioural data was collected using rotating focal sampling and continuous recording with an interval of 20 s for a total of 20 min per session to describe the behaviours of four focal individuals per session.  

Continuous recording was chosen as method for this study since chickens can change behaviour quickly and with continuous recording fewer behaviours are missed. The rotating focal sampling was used to collect data at each 20 s time interval to determine how often a behaviour is performed during a sampling period.

Activity loggers

Every day, six individuals were equipped with activity loggers and worn for approximately 23 h. The chickens wore the activity loggers as backpacks which was made out of cohesive bandage and elastic rubber bands. The rubber bands were placed over the chickens’ wings and put to the wing base. To eliminate the risk of re-testing, individuals were marked with plastic leg rings and colour spray.

The purpose for this experiment was to evaluate how much time the chicken spent outside their house and actually used the outdoor perimeter. This was made possible by programming the loggers to record light every second. A custom made program was then used to extract useful information, such as absolute time spent outside and percent mobile time.

The activity loggers was worn as backpacks for approximately 23 h, with the rubber bands put to the wing bases. The chicken wearing the logger was marked with plastic leg rings and a colour mark on the neck to eliminate the risk of re-testing the same individual.


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/03/16