Improving animal welfare is an industry priority. Broiler breeders are feed restricted to control body weight and improve productivity. Have the feeding requirements of today’s broiler breeders changed? Could the feeding program be managed differently to affect welfare? How do we effectively measure and improve hunger and bird welfare? Do the benefits of feeding more to breeder pullets offset extra feed costs?
For the sustainability of the industry, methods to measure hunger and welfare are needed to improve bird welfare. Some measures that have been used in the past include: elevated blood heterophil:lymphocyte ratio, plasma , cecal, colon or feather cortisol content, stereotypic object pecking, over-drinking, and hyperactivity.