The concern for animal welfare in the west European countries results in a change in housing systems. In poultry, the free-range housing systems allow the birds to walk around freely. However, one major drawback is that feather pecking  (FP) behaviour occurs. This behaviour can cause feather damage to the birds and ultimately the birds can be pecked to death. The increased feed intake due to the loss of feathers results in economic losses. To prevent the damage of FP, beak-trimming is a common used method (Gentle, 1986) as well as using a dimmed light scheme (Blokhuis and Wiepkema, 1998). However, in some countries beaktrimming is prohibited or will be prohibited in the near future. Therefore, it is important to identify the underlying factors for this behaviour. 

Albert Johannes Buitenhuis, T. B Rodenburg, Y. M van Hierden, B. Ask, M. Siwek, S. JB Cornelissen, M. GB Nieuwland, H. Vos, P. de Groot, S. M Korte, P. Koene, Henk Bovenhuis, Jan J van der Poel

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 14, , 14.06, 2002
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