Advanced SearchSearch Tips
A Review of Laying Hens` Behavior
facebook(new window)  Pirnt(new window) E-mail(new window) Excel Download
  • Journal title : Korean Journal of Poultry Science
  • Volume 42, Issue 2,  2015, pp.169-180
  • Publisher : The Korean Society of Poultry Science
  • DOI : 10.5536/KJPS.2015.42.2.169
 Title & Authors
A Review of Laying Hens` Behavior
Cheon, Si-Nae; Lee, Jun-Yeob; Choi, Hee-Chul; Jeon, Jung-Hwan;
  PDF(new window)
Domestic fowl still tend to exhibit very similar behavior such as perching, nesting and dust-bathing to their ancestor, Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus), even though they have been domesticated for 8,000 years. If given the opportunity, they choose high place for staying at night, a dark place for laying eggs and do dust bath in litter area. Therefore, these behaviors are considered for very important role in improving the welfare of laying hens. In EU and some countries, farmers must provide perches, nests and litter for the housing of laying hens. An understanding of behavior can lead to enhance physical health, emotional condition and welfare of laying hens. Unfortunately, there is little information on behavior of laying hens in Korea. Therefore, we researched the literature on certain behavior of laying hens.
behavior;laying hens;animal welfare;
 Cited by
Abrahamsson P, Tauson R 1997 Effects of group size on performance, health and birds' use of facilities in furnished cages for laying hens. Acta Agric Scand Sect A Anim Sci 47(4):254-260.

Appleby MC 1991 Do Hens Suffer in Battery Cages? A Review of the Scientific Evidence. The Athene Trust, Petersfield, UK.

Appleby MC 1995 Perch length in cages for medium hybrid laying hens. Br Poult Sci 36(1):23-31. crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, Duncan IJH 1989 Development of perching in hens. Biology of behaviour 14(2):157-168.

Appleby MC, Hughes BO, Cdonald MM, Cordiner LS 1998 Factors affecting the use of perches in cages by laying hens. Br Poult Sci 39(2):186-190. crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, McRae HE 1986 The individual nest box as a super-stimulus for domestic hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 15(2):169-176. crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, McRae HE, Duncan IJH, Bisazza A 1984a Choice of social conditions by laying hens. Br Poult Sci 25(1):111-117 crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, McRae HE, Peitz BE 1984b The effect of light on the choice of nests by domestic hens. Appl Anim Ethol 11(3):249-254. crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, Smith SF, Hughes BO 1992 Individual perching behaviour of laying hens and its effects in cages. Br Poult Sci 33(2):227-238. crossref(new window)

Appleby MC, Smith SF, Hughes BO 1993 Nesting, dust bathing and perching by laying hens in cages: Effects of design on behaviour and welfare. Br Poult Sci 34(5):835-847. crossref(new window)

Barnett JL, Glatz PC, Newman EA, Cronin GM 1997 Effects of modifying layer cages with perches on stress physiology, plumage, pecking and bone strength of hens. Anim Pro Sci 37(5):523-529. crossref(new window)

Bilcik B, Keeling LJ 1999 Changes in feather condition in relation to feather pecking and aggressive behaviour in laying hens. Br Poult Sci 40(4):444-451. crossref(new window)

Bilcik B, Keeling LJ 2000 Relationship between feather pecking and ground pecking in laying hens and the effect of group size. Appl Anim Behav Sci 68(1):55-66. crossref(new window)

Blokhuis HJ 1984 Rest in poultry. Appl Anim Behav Sci 12(3):289-303. crossref(new window)

Blokhuis HJ 1986 Feather-pecking in poultry: Its relation with ground-pecking. Appl Anim Behav Sci 16(1):63-67. crossref(new window)

Blokhuis HJ, Arkes JG 1984 Some observations on the development of feather-pecking in poultry. Appl Anim Behav Sci 12(1):145-157. crossref(new window)

Blokhuis HJ, Beutler A 1992 Feather pecking damage and tonic immobility response in two lines of White Leghorn hens. J Anim Sci 70(Suppl. 1):170.

Blokhuis HJ, Beuving G 1993 Feather pecking and other characteristics in two lines of laying hens. In: Proceedings of the Fourth European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, Edinburgh, UK, pp. 266 - 267.

Blokhuis HJ, Fiks van Niekerk T, Bessei W, Elson A, Guemene D, Kjaer JB, Van De Weerd HA 2007 The LayWel project: welfare implications of changes in production systems for laying hens. World's Poult Sci J 63(01):101-114. crossref(new window)

Brake J, Keeley TP, Jones RB 1994 Effect of age and presence of perches during rearing on tonic immobility fear reactions of broiler breeder pullets. Poult Sci 73(9):1470-1474. crossref(new window)

Brendler C, Kipper S, Schrader L 2014 Vigilance and roosting behaviour of laying hens on different perch heights. Appl Anim Behav Sci 157:93-99. crossref(new window)

Brunberg E, Jensen P, Isaksson A, Keeling L 2011 Feather pecking behavior in laying hens: Hypothalamic gene expression in birds performing and receiving pecks. Poult Sci 90(6):1145-1152. crossref(new window)

Channing CE, Hughes BO, Walker AW 2001 Spatial distribution and behaviour of laying hens housed in an alternative system. Appl Anim Behav Sci 72(4):335-345. crossref(new window)

Chen DH, Bao J, Meng FY, Wei CB 2014 Choice of perch characteristics by laying hens in cages with different group size and perching behaviours. Appl Anim Behav Sci 150:37-43. crossref(new window)

Chow A, Hogan JA 2005 The development of feather pecking in Burmese red junglefowl: The influence of early experience with exploratory-rich environments. Appl Anim Behav Sci 93(3):283-294. crossref(new window)

Clausen T, Riber AB 2012 Effect of heterogeneity of nest boxes on occurrence of gregarious nesting in laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 142(3):168-175. crossref(new window)

Collias NE, Collias EC 1967 A field study of the red jungle fowl in north-central India. Condor. 360-386.

Cooper JJ, Appleby MC 1995 Nesting behaviour of hens: Effects of experience on motivation. Appl Anim Behav Sci 42(4):283-295. crossref(new window)

Cooper JJ, Appleby MC 1996 Demand for nest boxes in laying hens. Behav Proc 36(2):171-182. crossref(new window)

Colson S, Arnould C, Michel V 2008 Influence of rearing conditions of pullets on space use and performance of hens placed in aviaries at the beginning of the laying period. Appl Anim Behav Sci 111(3):286-300. crossref(new window)

Council directive 99/74/EC. laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens. Official Journal of the European Communities (L203/53), 19 July.

Dawkins MS 1983 Cage size and flooring preferences in litter reared and cage reared hens. Br Poult Sci 24(2):177-182. crossref(new window)

Dawkins MS 1999 The role of behaviour in the assessment of poultry welfare. World's Poult Sci J 55(03):295-303. crossref(new window)

De Jong IC, Wolthuis-Fillerup M, van Reenen CG 2007 Strength of preference for dustbathing and foraging substrates in laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 104(1):24-36. crossref(new window)

Dixon LM, Duncan IJH, Mason G 2008 What's in a peck? Using fixed action pattern morphology to identify the motivational basis of abnormal feather-pecking behaviour. Anim Behav 76(3):1035-1042. crossref(new window)

Drake KA, Donnelly CA, Dawkins MS 2010 Influence of rearing and lay risk factors on propensity for feather damage in laying hens. Br Poult Sci 51(6):725-733. crossref(new window)

Duncan ET, Appleby MC, Hughes BO 1992 Effect of perches in laying cages on welfare and production of hens. Br Poult Sci 33(1):25-35. crossref(new window)

Duncan IJH, Kite VG 1989 Nest site selection and nest-building behaviour in domestic fowl. Anim Behav 37:215-231. crossref(new window)

El-Lethey H, Aerni V, Jungi TW, Wechsler B 2000 Stress and feather pecking in laying hens in relation to housing conditions. Br Poult Sci 41(1):22-28.

Faure JM, Jones RB 1982 Effects of sex, strain and type of perch on perching behaviour in the domestic fowl. Appl Anim Behav Sci 8(3):281-293.

Folsch DW, Muller A, Dolf C 1986 Die bedeutung der einstreu fur huhner in den funktionsbereichen der nahrungssuche und korperpflege. KTBL-Schrift 311:168-176.

Freire R, Appleby MC, Hughes BO 1996 Effects of nest quality and other cues for exploration on pre-laying behaviour. Appl Anim Behav Sci 48(1):37-46. crossref(new window)

Freire R, Appleby MC, Hughes BO 1998 Effects of social interactions on pre-laying behaviour in hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 56(1):47-57. crossref(new window)

Freire R, Walker A, Nicol CJ 1999 The relationship between trough height, feather cover and behaviour of laying hens in modified cages. Appl Anim Behav Sci 63(1):55-64. crossref(new window)

Gentle MJ, Hunter LN 1990 Physiological and behavioural responses associated with feather removal in Gallus gallus var domesticus. Research in veterinary science 50(1):95-101.

Gentle MJ, Hunter LN, Waddington D 1991 The onset of pain related behaviours following partial beak amputation in the chicken. Neuroscience letters 128(1):113-116. crossref(new window)

Gentle MJ, Waddington D, Hunter LN, Jones RB 1990 Behavioural evidence for persistent pain following partial beak amputation in chickens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 27(1):49-157.

Glatz PC, Murphy LB, Reston A 1992 Analgesic therapy of beak trimmed chickens. Australian veterinary journal 69(1):18. crossref(new window)

Green LE, Lewis K, Kimpton A, Nicol CJ 2000 Cross-sectional study of the prevalence of feather pecking in laying hens in alternative systems and its associations with management and disease. The Veterinary Record 147(9):233-238. crossref(new window)

Guesdon V, Ahmed AMH, Mallet S, Faure JM, Nys Y 2006 Effects of beak trimming and cage design on laying hen performance and egg quality. Br Poult Sci 47(1):1-12. crossref(new window)

Gunnarsson S 1999 Effect of rearing factors on the prevalence of floor eggs, cloacal cannibalism and feather pecking in commercial flocks of loose housed laying hens. Br Poult Sci 40(1):12-18.

Hafez ESE 1962 The behaviour of domestic animals. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, USA.

Hansen I, Braastad BO, Storbraten J, Tofastrud M 1993 Differences in fearfulness indicated by tonic immobility between laying hens in aviaries and in cages. Animal Welfare 2(2):105-112.

Harrison R 1964 Animal machines: The new factory farming industry. Vincent Stuart, London, UK.

Hogan JA, Van Boxel F 1993 Causal factors controlling dustbathing in Burmese red jungle fowl: Some results and a model. Anim Behav 46(4):627-635. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher B 2004 The effect of early colour preference and of a colour exposing procedure on the choice of nest colours in laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 86(1):63-76. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher B, Audige L 1999 Analysis of risk factors for the occurrence of feather pecking in laying hen growers. Br Poult Sci 40(5):599-604. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher B, Sebo F 2001a Reducing feather pecking when raising laying hen chicks in aviary systems. Appl Anim Behav Sci 73(1):59-68. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher B, Sebo F 2001b The prevalence of feather pecking and development in commercial flocks of laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 74(3):223-231. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher B, Wechsler B 1997 Feather pecking in domestic chicks: Its relation to dustbathing and foraging. Anim Behav 54(4):757-768. crossref(new window)

Huber-Eicher BEAT, Wechsler B 1998 The effect of quality and availability of foraging materials on feather pecking in laying hen chicks. Anim Behav 55(4):861-873. crossref(new window)

Huber HU, Folsch DW, Stahli U 1985 Influence of various nesting materials on nest site selection of the domestic hen. Br Poult Sci 26(3):367-373. crossref(new window)

Hughes BO 1973 The effect of implanted gonadal hormones on feather pecking and cannibalism in pullets. Br Poult Sci 14(4):341-348. crossref(new window)

Hughes BO 1993 Choice between artificial turf and wire floor as nest sites in individually caged laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 36(4):327-335. crossref(new window)

Hughes BO, Appleby MC 1989 Increase in bone strength of spent laying hens housed in modified cages with perches. The Veterinary Record 124(18):483-484. crossref(new window)

Hughes BO, Duncan IJH, Brown MF 1989 The performance of nest building by domestic hens: Is it more important than the construction of a nest? Anim Behav 37:210-214. crossref(new window)

Jendral MJ, Korver DR, Church JS, Feddes JJR 2008 Bone mineral density and breaking strength of white leghorns housed in conventional, modified, and commercially available colony battery cages. Poult Sci 87(5):828-837. crossref(new window)

Jiang S, Hester PY, Hu JY, Yan FF, Dennis RL, Cheng HW 2014 Effect of perches on liver health of hens. Poult Sci 93(7):1618-1622. crossref(new window)

Johnsen PF, Vestergaard KS, Norgaard-Nielsen G 1998 Influence of early rearing conditions on the development of feather pecking and cannibalism in domestic fowl. Appl Anim Behav Sci 60(1):25-41. crossref(new window)

Kjaer JB, Sorensen P 1997 Feather pecking behaviour in White Leghorns, a genetic study. Br Poult Sci 38(4):333-341. crossref(new window)

Kjaer JB, Vestergaard KS 1999 Development of feather pecking in relation to light intensity. Appl Anim Behav Sci 62(2):243-254. crossref(new window)

Klein T, Zeltner E, Huber-Eicher B 2000 Are genetic differences in foraging behaviour of laying hen chicks paralleled by hybrid-specific differences in feather pecking? Appl Anim Behav Sci 70(2):43-155.

Klinger G 1982 Das Verhalten von Junghennen unter dem Einfluss verschiedener Zuechtungs-, Haltungs-und Testbedingungen. Deutsche Gefluegelwirtschaft und Schweineproduktion.

Knowles TG, Broom DM 1990 Limb bone strength and movement in laying hens from different housing systems. The Veterinary Record 126(15):354-356. crossref(new window)

Koene P 2001 Animal welfare and genetics in organic farming of layers: The example of cannibalism. In Proc. of the 4th NAHWOA Workshop, Wageningen, pp. 62-85.

Koene P, Wiepkema PR 1991 Pre-dustbath vocalizations as an indicator of need in domestic hens. In: Bohncke E, Molkenthin V Eds., Alternatives in Animal Husbandry. Agrarkultur Verlag, Witzenhausen, pp. 95-103.

Lambton SL, Knowles TG, Yorke C, Nicol CJ 2010 The risk factors affecting the development of gentle and severe feather pecking in loose housed laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 123(1):32-42. crossref(new window)

Lay DC, Fulton RM, Hester PY, Karcher DM, Kjaer JB, Mench JA, Porter RE 2011 Hen welfare in different housing systems. Poult Sci 90(1):278-294. crossref(new window)

Lentfer TL, Gebhardt-Henrich SG, Frohlich EK, von Borell E 2011 Influence of nest site on the behaviour of laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 135(1):70-77. crossref(new window)

Leyendecker M, Hamann H, Hartung J, Kamphues J, Neumann U, Surie C, Distl O 2005 Keeping laying hens in furnished cages and an aviary housing system enhances their bone stability. Br Poult Sci 46(5):536-544. crossref(new window)

Lindberg AC 1999 Effects of vacuum and real dustbathing bouts on dustbathing motivation in domestic hens. In 33rd International Congress of the International Society for Animal Ethology (Boe KE, M Bakken, BBO Bakken, eds). As, Norway: Agricultural University of Norway (Vol. 91).

Lindberg AC, Nicol CJ 1997 Dustbathing in modified battery cages: Is sham dustbathing an adequate substitute? Appl Anim Behav Sci 55(1):113-128. crossref(new window)

Lundberg A, Keeling LJ 1999 The impact of social factors on nesting in laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus). Appl Anim Behav Sci 64(1):57-69. crossref(new window)

McAdie TM, Keeling LJ 2002 The social transmission of feather pecking in laying hens: Effects of environment and age. Appl Anim Behav Sci 75(2):147-159. crossref(new window)

McCoy MA, Reilly GAC, Kilpatrick DJ 1996 Density and breaking strength of bones of mortalities among caged layers. Research in veterinary science 60(2):185-186. crossref(new window)

Mills AD, Wood Gush DGM 1985 Pre laying behaviour in battery cages. Br Poult Sci 26(2):247-352. crossref(new window)

Muiruri HK, Harrison PC, Gonyou HW 1990 Preferences of hens for shape and size of roosts. Appl Anim Behav Sci 27(1):141-147. crossref(new window)

Newberry RC, Estevez I, Keeling LJ 2001 Group size and perching behaviour in young domestic fowl. Appl Anim Behav Sci 73(2):117-129 crossref(new window)

Nicol CJ, Bestman M, Gilani AM, De Haas EN, De Jong IC, Lambton S, Rodenburg TB 2013 The prevention and control of feather pecking: Application to commercial systems. World's Poult Sci J 69(04):775-788. crossref(new window)

Nicol CJ, Gregory NG, Knowles TG, Parkman ID, Wilkins LJ 1999 Differential effects of increased stocking density, mediated by increased flock size, on feather pecking and agg ression in laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 65(2):137-152. crossref(new window)

Nicol CJ, Lindberg AC, Phillips AJ, Pope SJ, Wilkins LJ, Green LE 2001 Influence of prior exposure to wood shavings on feather pecking, dustbathing and foraging in adult laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 73(2):141-155. crossref(new window)

Norgaard-Nielsen G. 1990. Bone strength of laying hens kept in an alternative system, compared with hens in cages and on deep litter. Br Poult Sci 31(1):81-89. crossref(new window)

Oden K, Keeling LJ, Algers B 2002 Behaviour of laying hens in two types of aviary systems on 25 commercial farms in Sweden. Br Poult Sci 43(2):169-181. crossref(new window)

Olsson IAS, Keeling LJ 2000 Night-time roosting in laying hens and the effect of thwarting access to perches. Appl Anim Behav Sci 68(3):243-256. crossref(new window)

Olsson IAS, Keeling LJ 2005 Why in earth? Dustbathing behaviour in jungle and domestic fowl reviewed from a Tinbergian and animal welfare perspective. Appl Anim Behav Sci 93(3):259-282. crossref(new window)

Olsson IAS, Keeling LJ, Duncan IJ 2002 Why do hens sham dustbathe when they have litter? Appl Anim Behav Sci 76(1):53-64. crossref(new window)

Pagel M, Dawkins MS 1997 Peck orders and group size in laying hens: Futures contracts' for non-aggression. Behav Proc 40(1):13-25. crossref(new window)

Petherick JC, Duncan IJH 1989 Behaviour of young domestic fowl directed towards different substrates. Br Poult Sci 30(2):229-238. crossref(new window)

Petherick JC, Seawright E, Waddington D 1993 Influence of quantity of utter on nest box selection and nesting behaviour of domestic hens. Br Poult Sci 34(5):857-872. crossref(new window)