Type: Chapter

The contribution of environmental enrichment to sustainable poultry production


Inma Estevez

Neiker-Tecnalia Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development

Ruth C. Newberry

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Publication date:

31 August 2017

ID: 9781838792299

E-Chapter format

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Environmental enrichment comprises stimuli added to the poultry housing environment to enhance the biological adaptation of the birds and improve their welfare. By promoting species-typical behaviour, it has the potential to reduce the risk of harmful behaviours and health conditions, and to guide birds to use the available resources more uniformly. Environmental enrichment may also promote positive emotional states and enhance the birds’ ability to cope with unpredictable environmental changes. In this chapter, we review environmental enrichment strategies that are relevant to commercial meat poultry production, their benefits in terms of the behaviour and welfare of the birds and their potential for contributing to more efficient and sustainable production models. Potential risks or problems that may arise when environmental enrichment is not appropriately implemented are also discussed, finishing with discussion of current gaps in knowledge and concluding remarks.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Structural complexity: an introduction
3 Structural complexity: cover panels
4 Structural complexity: perches, barriers and ramps
5 Other benefits of structural complexity
6 Visual enrichment through lighting
7 Foraging enrichments
8 Comfort behaviour enrichments
9 Enrichment and use of outdoor areas
10 Discussion
11 Conclusions
12 References