The importance of sleep and rest for animals is well known, but rarely mentioned and considered in the handbooks for broiler production, nor when welfare issues are discussed in relation to the production settings. Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers, making the quality of rest highly important for the welfare of the birds. Behaviour data on rest can give a lot of valuable information on the quality of resting and thereby, indirectly, on the quality of sleep. Poor quality resting can negatively affect the welfare of the birds but also disturb important functions of sleep related for instance to restoration, growth and cognitive functioning. Therefore, this thesis investigated three possible treatments to improve the quality of resting behaviour; elevated platforms, artificial brooders and intermittent lighting. The results show that all three treatments reduce physical disturbances between birds and increase resting bout duration. Intermittent lighting also increase the synchronisation of resting behaviour. No negative effects were found on production or clinical welfare parameters. A reduction of fear was seen for broilers reared with elevated platforms, artificial brooders or intermittent lighting, indicating increased welfare. Altering the broilers’ environment to promote more natural resting patterns have positive effects on the resting behaviour of the birds and thus likely also on their sleep.
You can find the thesis here: https://doi.org/10.54612/a.p7dvv4us20