A review of the effects of stocking density on turkey behavior, welfare, and productivity

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Abstract

Stocking density, the amount of space available per animal, greatly affects the welfare of commercial turkeys. For example, stocking density has been found to affect behavior such as injurious pecking; production, such as growth rates and feed efficiency; and health-related aspects, such as leg health and the incidence of airsacculitis. Current industry guidelines and standards for turkey space requirements and stocking densities vary, and they are different from those that have been examined scientifically. Scientific research into stocking density effects on turkey behavior, welfare, and productivity have been conducted in experimental settings with flock sizes that are much different from those in the commercial turkey industry. There is currently little information available regarding how much space turkeys require for particular behavioral activities. This paper reviews the current industry guidelines and standards as well as scientific literature pertaining to stocking densities for commercial turkeys.

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