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Br Poult Sci. 1999 Dec;40(5):592-8.

Effects of environmental enrichment, fluorescent and intermittent lighting on injurious pecking amongst male turkey poults.

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Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, England.


1. Under commercial and experimental conditions domestic turkeys often cause injuries to pen-mates by repeated pecking, sometimes fatally. Environmental enrichment or lighting manipulations might be used to mitigate such injurious pecking. 2. This study examined responses to 4 treatments (2 rooms/treatment) of 8 groups of 100, non-beak trimmed, non-desnooded, male domestic turkeys from 1 to 35 d of age. 3. Birds of 1 treatment were reared under conditions approximating to commercial rearing (12L:12D incandescent, Control) whereas the experimental treatments were 12L:12D incandescent plus supplemental ultraviolet radiation, straw supplementation of litter, pecking substrates and visual barriers (Enriched), 12L:12D fluorescent lighting (Fluorescent), and 2(2L:3D):2L:12D incandescent (Intermittent). 4. Compared to control birds, the incidence of injuries caused by wing or tail pecking were both lower in the Enriched but not significantly different in the Fluorescent or Intermittent. 5. Injuries caused by head pecking did not occur in the Enriched rooms but were observed in at least 1 of the rooms with Control, Fluorescent and Intermittent treatments. 6. Despite considerable environmental differences between treatments, there was remarkable consistency within each type of injurious pecking in age at which injuries were 1st recorded (wing pecking, 9.38+/-1.31 d; tail pecking, 20.43+/-2.42 d; head pecking, 27.8+/-2.13 d). The roles of feather emergence, hierarchy formation in wild turkey poults and appearance of feathers are discussed as possible explanations of these consistencies.

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