LOHMANN - MANAGEMENT GUIDE - ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMS

31 31 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE Dust bathing & Wing flapping Enrichment Both are examples of natural comfort behaviour. Dust bathing is well documented in having a positive benefit for hens. It’s classed as a high priority mainte- nance behaviour which can help sup- port good feather condition and dis- lodge any unwelcome parasites. Reducing the opportunity to exhibit these natural behaviours may cause increased stress in the hen and there- fore should be encouraged by keeping a litter of excellent friable quality. Dust baths are often used in addition to the litter to provide a separate calm dust bathing area. These are often dual purpose as they can be filled with a diatomaceous powder as the substrate which can be beneficial in reducing any potential risk, such as the poultry red mite. There is no doubt that introducing en- vironmental enrichment to the flock can have a beneficial effect on the hen’s wellbeing when used correctly. Introducing the enrichment at differ- ent stages during the hen’s life will help entertain the flock and reduce any undesired behaviour. There are many options available such as pecking blocks or Lucerne bales which are often hung in hay nets.

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