Laser enrichment increased activity and pen-wide locomotion in Ross 708 broilers

  • Meaghan Meyer (Iowa State University)
  • Anna K. Johnson (Iowa State University)
  • Elizabeth Bobeck (Iowa State University)


Fast growth rate and geneticallydriven breast muscle yield in modern broilers have had unintended effects onanimal welfare resulting in increased inactivity and leg disorders. Thus, thecurrent research objectives were to implement a laser enrichment devicedesigned to stimulate bird activity. 600 Ross 708 broilers were assigned toenrichment (LASER; laser enrichment), or CON; (no laser enrichment) for 6 weeks.Forty focal birds were randomly assigned to 8 video-recorded pens for weekly behavioralanalysis and were gait scored on-farm weekly. Time spent active was increasedin LASER-enriched birds compared to the CON on week 4 (408% increase), percentof time at the feeder was increased in LASER-enriched birds on weeks 2 and 4,and time spent at the drinker was increased on week 3. Inactive behaviors weresignificantly reduced in LASER-enriched broilers on week 2-4 by up to 35% (week4). Distance walked was increased due to laser enrichment on week 4-5 (149%increase on week 5). Percent of birds moving (laser-following or not) wasincreased on week 4 and 5 in LASER-enriched pens, with a percent increase of 79%observed on week 4 (P<0.05). No differences were observed in gait scores dueto treatment. These data indicate that laser enrichment stimulated broilermovement through week 5 of life without negatively impacting broiler walking ability.

Keywords: broiler, environmental enrichment, behavior, welfare

How to Cite:

Meyer, M., Johnson, A. K. & Bobeck, E., (2023) “Laser enrichment increased activity and pen-wide locomotion in Ross 708 broilers”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 20(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/air.15483

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Published on
21 Mar 2023
Peer Reviewed