Control of landing flight by laying hens: Implications for the design of extensive housing systems

C. Moinard, P. Statham, P. R. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Ten domestic hens (Lohmann Brown) were video-recorded while moving between perches at a horizontal distance of 0.6, 0.8 or 1.15 m apart. The take-off perch was either 0.2 m above or below the landing perch. 2. Weight and wing area of the hens were measured at the end of the experiment. The same measures where taken from 10 jungle fowls. 3. Clumsy or missed landings were observed on some downward flights over 0.8 and 1.15 m. 4. Hens' trajectories on take-off were closely related to the position of the target perch, and variation in take-off trajectory decreased as the distance between perches increased. 5. The standard deviation of the horizontal distance between head and perch, at the point when the feet first contacted the perch, did not vary with flight distance, suggesting that timing of foot extension was equally accurate at all distances. 6. The standard deviation of the vertical distance between head and perch, at the point when the feet first contacted the perch, did increase with distance, suggesting increasing difficulty in controlling the height of the flight trajectory above the landing perch. 7. Wing loading of the hens (mean 213 N/m2) was approximately twice that of the jungle fowl (mean 111/m2). 8. Loss of accuracy in hens' landings at greater distances can be attributed specifically to the effects of high wing loading on the ability to generate and control lift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-584
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Volume45
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004

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