Incubation and chick rearing

Deeming, Charles (2011) Incubation and chick rearing. In: The Welfare of Farmed Ratites. Animal welfare (11). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 65-89. ISBN 9783642192968

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-19297-5_4

Abstract

Welfare considerations during incubation and for the first 3 months post- hatching are described for ratite chicks. Welfare of embryos is discussed in the context of the animal being sentient and able to elicit a change in its environment. It is suggested that during development, typical definitions of what constitutes welfare cannot be easily applied to embryos and indeed they may be inappropriate. Only after internal pipping into the air space does an embryo exhibit a demonstrable ability to elicit a response from its parents when incubation conditions are not optimal. Nevertheless, good practice will optimise the incubation environment and yield high hatchability and chick quality, which automatically serves to maximise welfare.

Compared with poultry species, our understanding of the requirements of ratite chicks is very poor. There are limited scientific studies into appropriate rearing conditions and few that are directly related to welfare. Welfare considerations during rearing are described in relation to factors such as behaviour, feeding, environment, transport and health issues. Much of this work has been carried out with ostriches, with little work on emus or rheas. Chick welfare in all commercially important ratites requires more targeted research in order to promote best practice around the world.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:Welfare considerations during incubation and for the first 3 months post- hatching are described for ratite chicks. Welfare of embryos is discussed in the context of the animal being sentient and able to elicit a change in its environment. It is suggested that during development, typical definitions of what constitutes welfare cannot be easily applied to embryos and indeed they may be inappropriate. Only after internal pipping into the air space does an embryo exhibit a demonstrable ability to elicit a response from its parents when incubation conditions are not optimal. Nevertheless, good practice will optimise the incubation environment and yield high hatchability and chick quality, which automatically serves to maximise welfare. Compared with poultry species, our understanding of the requirements of ratite chicks is very poor. There are limited scientific studies into appropriate rearing conditions and few that are directly related to welfare. Welfare considerations during rearing are described in relation to factors such as behaviour, feeding, environment, transport and health issues. Much of this work has been carried out with ostriches, with little work on emus or rheas. Chick welfare in all commercially important ratites requires more targeted research in order to promote best practice around the world.
Keywords:ratite, ostrich, emu, rhea
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:4707
Deposited By: Charles Deeming
Deposited On:05 Oct 2011 18:28
Last Modified:28 Aug 2014 12:09

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