1/11/2021 0 Comments
Keel bone damage is a welfare concern for laying hens, but is it common in their ancestor: the jungle fowl?
By Leonie Jacobs - Laying hen keel bones are sensitive to deviations and fractures, which can commonly occur in commercial laying hen flocks. The cause of these deviations and fractures are not very clear, but are thought to come from perch design (deviations) and from collisions and falls for free-roaming hens (fractures). Laying hen genetics contribute to the issue, because of selection for high egg production.
Researchers in Scandinavia aimed to get to the root of the issue, and studied keel bone damage in the laying hen ancestor: the jungle fowl.
Based on autopsies on 29 red jungle hens and roosters, they detected no fractures in the roosters, and 1 single hen with a keel bone fracture. In addition, 1 rooster had a very slight deviation in his keel and 10 hens showed slightly deviated keels. These numbers are quite different from commercial laying hen strains, with prevalences of fractures ranging between 30-97% and deviations ranging from 6–59% in commercial flocks.
The researchers concluded that more work is needed to get to the bottom of this welfare issue.
Read the full paper in Animals here: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/9/1655
Prevalence of Keel Bone Damage in Red Jungle Fowls (Gallus gallus)—A Pilot Study
by Käthe Kittelsen, Per Jensen, Jens Christensen, Ingrid Toftaker, Randi Oppermann Moe, and Guro Vasdal
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Photo used under Creative Commons from Milford Lake