Journal article

Frequent range visits further from the shed relate positively to free-range broiler chicken welfare

PS Taylor, PH Hemsworth, PJ Groves, SG Gebhardt-Henrich, J-L Rault



Little is known about the implications of accessing an outdoor range for broiler chicken welfare, particularly in relation to the distance ranged from the shed. Therefore, we monitored individual ranging behaviour of commercial free-range broiler chickens and identified relationships with welfare indicators. The individual ranging behaviour of 305 mixed-sex Ross 308 broiler chickens was tracked on a commercial farm from the second day of range access to slaughter age (from 16 to 42 days of age) by radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The radio frequency identification antennas were placed at pop-holes and on the range at 2.7 and 11.2 m from the home shed to determine the total n..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This work was partly funded by AgriFutures Chicken Meat. The authors would like to thank industry participants and staff and students from the Animal Welfare Science Centre for their help with the experimental work, and Michael Toscano from the Research Centre for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ), Division of Animal Welfare, University of Bern, Switzerland, for his assistance with RFID equipment.