Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 82, No 2 (2017)

Dimethyl Anthranilate Based Repellents Affect Cage Pecking and Feather Condition of Laying Hens


Pages: 185-188


Knowledge on the usage of taste deterrents (i.e. repellents) and its association with feather pecking is limited and studies of reduction of feather pecking in commercial flocks of laying hens have not been performed previously. In this study we examined the effect of two dimethyl anthranilate (DA) based repellents on plumage condition and behaviour of 180 non-beak-trimmed laying hens housed in enriched cages (10 birds/cage) with an emphasis on feather pecking. Birds were divided into 3 groups of 60 birds each. From 20 to 40 weeks of age they were sprayed at two-week intervals with 300ml of distilled water (control group – group “C”), a water solution of DA (group “T”) and a propylene glycol solution of DA (group “P”). Hens’ behaviour was recorded by direct observation for 3 days (one, six and 13 days after spraying) in each of the two observation periods starting at hens’ age of 26 and 38 weeks. Feather condition of individual hen was recorded at 20, 26 and 38 weeks of age. Both repellents reduced cage pecking significantly (p < 0.05) compared to the group C. Even though there was no significant difference in feather pecking between groups, the plumage condition of the repellent-treated birds was poorer (p < 0.05) than that of the group C. This study was the first to investigate the potential of repellents to discourage feather pecking in a commercial setting.


taste deterrent, feather pecking, behaviour, animal welfare, poultry

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