The effects of Environmental Enrichment on Some Physiological and Behavioral Parameters of Broiler Chicks
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This study aims to examine the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) practices on some physiological and behavioral parameters of broiler chicks. A total of 280 one-day old Ross 308 mixed-sex broiler chicks with an average initial body weight of 44.5 +/- 0.37 g were used in a 42-d trial. Broiler chicks were randomly allocated to 20 pens composed of 14 birds in 1x1.4m sized floor area. Each of the EE treatment consisted of 5 replicate pens (70 chickens per treatment). The treatments were 1) control; 2) perch for EE; 3) ball for EE; 4) mirror for EE; and 5) dust for EE. Final body weights, tonic immobility test results, and rectal temperatures were recorded. Spleen, liver, and bursa fabricius weights were measured. The blood biochemistry of birds was analyzed at the end of the experiment. Besides, gait score test was applied on the 42(nd) day of experiment. Body weight gain, lymphoid organ weights and rectal temperature values of broilers were not affected by EE treatments on the 21(st) and 42(nd) days of the study. At the end of the study, WBC values, tonic immobility values and gait scores of the control groups were found higher than those of the EE groups. HCT and PLT values of the ball groups were found lower than the other groups, concluding that EE improved the welfare of birds.