Chicken Behaviour and Welfare

The University of Edinburgh

This course delves into the intricate world of chicken behaviour and welfare, addressing the principles of avian sensory perception, motivation, and behaviour patterns. It encompasses a broad audience, from small hobby flock owners to commercial egg and chicken meat producers, as well as veterinary professionals.

Key topics covered include:

  • Understanding the general principles of chicken behaviour and welfare
  • Assessing welfare using behavioural and physiological means
  • Defining welfare and explaining the bases of welfare standards
  • Exploring the effects of housing, transport, and slaughter on bird welfare

This comprehensive course is an essential resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of chicken behaviour, welfare, and ethical obligations.

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Chicken Behaviour and Welfare
Course Modules

This course consists of six modules covering a range of topics including avian sensory perception, behaviour patterns, welfare standards, and the effects of housing, transport, and slaughter on bird welfare.

Getting Started

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the course, including a promo video, rules of engagement from the Animal Behaviour & Welfare course, and additional resources for further information.

Introduction to Animal Behaviour: Domestication, Behaviour Development and Learning, the Senses

Delving into the domestication, development, and learning of chicken behaviour, this module covers various aspects of behaviour, sensory perception, and interview insights from industry professionals.

Behaviour Patterns of Chickens, Part 1

Exploring maintenance behaviours, feeding, drinking, preening, communication, dominance behaviour, and social spacing, this module offers a detailed understanding of the behavioural patterns of chickens.

Behaviour Patterns of Chickens, Part 2

Continuing the exploration of behaviour patterns, this module delves into reproduction, nesting, laying, brooding, and addresses issues such as feather pecking and stereotypic behaviours.

What is chicken welfare? Defining "welfare", ethical obligations, and welfare standards

This module focuses on defining welfare, ethical obligations, and welfare standards, including an examination of the effects of stressors and an exploration of assessing welfare through behavioural and physiological measures.

Effects of housing, transport and slaughter on bird welfare

Examining the impact of housing, transport, and slaughter on bird welfare, this module covers different production methods, culling, transport, and stunning, providing a holistic view of the industry's effects on chicken welfare.

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