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The Laying Hen and its Environment

The welfare of domestic poultry. particularly those kept under intensive housing conditions is a subject ~n which many. often divergent and conflicting views. are held. This divergence, may be the result either of insufficient knowledge of the facts of particular poultry husbandry systems or a differing interpretation of those facts. With regard to poultry and the laying hen in particular. there is a need to gather together a basic knowledge of avian behaviour in all the circumstances and systems of husbandry under which birds are presently being kept. That knowledge should lead to the development of interpretative and hopefully predictive theories which in turn will allow us to meet the recommendations of Article 3 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes: 'that animals shall be housed, provided with food. water and care in a manner which - having regard to their species and to their degree of development. adaptation and domestication - is appropriate to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge'. In furtherance of those objectives a small group of specialists in poultry physiology and ethology. both from within and outside the European Community met by invitation of the Commission in Luxembourg between 11 and 13 March 1980. Their objective was to discuss what is already known. and can be agreed on. of the normal physiology and ethological range of the laying hen.
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Opening Remarks.- Session I Current Knowledge of "Normal" Range of Behaviour and Physiology.- The Ethogram of the Domesticated Hen.- Discussion.- To Adapt the Environment to the Bird or the Bird to the Environment ?.- Discussion.- Some Considerations Regarding Optimum Environmental Conditions for Laying Hens in Cage Management.- Discussion.- Corticosteroids in Laying Hens.- Discussion.- Summary and Discussion.- Session II Behavioural and Physiological Needs.- The Regulation of Dustbathing and Other Behaviour Patterns in the Laying Hen: A Lorenzian Approach.- Discussion.- Essential Behavioural Needs.- Discussion.- The Assessment of Behavioural Needs.- Discussion.- Essential Behavioural Needs: The Mixed Motivation Approach.- Discussion.- Summary and Discussion.- Session III Measurement of Essential and Behavioural Needs as Provided by the Present Husbandry Systems.- Measurement of Essential and Behavioural Needs as Provided by Present Husbandry Systems: Battery, `Get-Away' Cage, Aviary.- Discussion.- Putting Science into Practice.- Discussion.- The Pre-Laying Behaviour of Laying Hens in Cages with and Without Laying Nests.- Discussion.- Some System Definitions and Characteristics.- Discussion.- Moulting in the Domestic Hen (Gallus domesticus) and Its Use and Effect.- Discussion.- Cages: How Could They be Improved?.- Discussion.- Final Discussion.- Summary.- Closing Remarks.- List of Participants.

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