Researchers led by Oddvar Fossum, at the National Veterinary Institute in Sweden, noted that during the switch in housing from battery cages to enriched cages and litter-based systems, including free-range, there was an increase in the number of chickens dying. During the study, the authors compared the causes of deaths in flocks of chickens kept in different types of housing across Sweden.
The Swedish Animal Welfare Act from 1988 mandated a switch from battery cages for laying hens to alternatives, including free-range and indoor litter-based systems, allowing birds to behave naturally. Between 2001 and 2004, there was a large increase in the numbers of flocks being kept in more humane housing.
The cause of death was recorded in 914 hens from 172 flocks. For each of the birds tested, the housing system of their flock was recorded.
There were significantly more deaths in flocks farmed either free-range or from indoor litter-based systems than in flocks of caged chickens. The most common cause of death recorded was bacterial infection, most often caused by E. coli. These diseases were more frequently seen in flocks from litter-based and free-range systems than in caged birds. In addition, free-range chickens and chickens from litter-based housing were more likely to have been pecked by other birds, which can affect welfare and lead to death. Parasitic infections caused by mites were also more common. However, housing did not appear to affect the incidence of viral infections
The authors emphasize that, because of the change in housing systems that occurred between 2001 and 2004, many of the farmers caring for these flocks lacked the experience and knowledge that would have prevented the higher mortality and disease rates.
According to Fossum, “birds kept in indoor litter-based and free-range housing are more prone to disease but measures can be taken to counter this.” Fossum adds,“the health of Swedish laying hens kept in these systems has improved as the farmers have become more experienced in managing the new housing systems.”
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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