THE IMPACT OF PLATFORM AND SPOTLIGHT ENRICHMENTS ON CONVENTIONAL BROILER PERFORMANCE, TIBIA MORPHOLOGY, AND WELFARE
Weimer, Shawna L
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Welfare is an important consideration in proper management of broilers. Providing broilers with environmental enrichments may help improve welfare on many levels, and evaluation of potential enrichments is important to ensure they improve broiler welfare. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of no enrichments (C), platform (P), spotlight (S), and a combination of spotlight and platform (S&P) enrichments on broiler production, welfare, stress, tibia morphology, tibia ash, and fear behavior. Production, corticosterone, and tibia ash measures were unaffected by enrichments. Compared to other treatments, P broilers had wider (P ≤ 0.02) tibias at 90%, 75%, and 25% length locations and S broilers had narrower (P ≤ 0.04) tibias at 90% and 75% length locations. Fear decreased from week 3 to week 5 (P ≤ 0.05). The results indicate that both platform and spotlight enrichments can influence tibial morphology without decreasing production or animal-based measures of welfare.