Behavioral traits of artificially and naturally hatched geese in intensive and free-range production systems

Boz M. A. , Sarıca M., Yamak U. S. , Erensoy K.

APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR SCIENCE, vol.236, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 236
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105273


The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of hatching type and production system on behavioral traits in geese. The animal subjects within the study consisted of 240 native Turkish goslings produced in artificial (120) or natural incubation (120) conditions. After completing hatching process, the goslings hatched by natural incubation remained with their mothers for 3 days, while the goslings produced by artificial incubation were immediately taken to the production house. The study was designed with a 2 ? 2 factorial arrangement (hatching type ? production system) with 4 pens per treatment combination and 15 geese per pen. For each behavior (accessing the outdoor area, fearfulness, foraging, feather pecking, preening, resting?standing, wing flapping?feather shaking, running), the percentage of geese performing specific behaviors to the total number of birds in the pen was determined. There was no difference between the levels of outdoor access between the geese hatched artificially and naturally: 84.5 % and 85.4 % of them accessed the outdoors, respectively. The interaction effect was found to be significant in fearfulness, feather pecking, foraging, resting?standing, wing flapping?feather shaking, and preening behaviors (p < 0.01). Naturally hatched geese reared in an intensive system showed less fearfulness than naturally hatched geese reared in the free-range system (p < 0.01). Artificial incubation increases the probability of fearfulness in geese 1.19 times compared to natural hatching (odds ratio = 1.187, p = 0.000), and the free-range production system was 2.69 times more likely to cause fearfulness than the intensive system (odds ratio = 2.686, p = 0.000). A 1-unit decrease in fearfulness resulted in increases of 3.5 % in the number of foraging geese (odds ratio = 1.035, p = 0.033), 56.1 % in feather pecking (odds ratio =1.561, p = 0.000), 17.1 % in preening (odds ratio = 1.171, p = 0.000) and 10.3 % in wing flapping-feather shaking (odds ratio = 1.103, p = 0.000). More geese showed feather pecking, wing flapping-feather shaking and preening behaviors in the intensive system as compared to free-range (p < 0.05). In conclusion, both the hatching type and production system have significant effects on geese behaviors. Fearfulness caused by maternal deprivation in artificial hatching also affected the development of other behavioral traits in the post-hatch period. Geese behaved less fearful in the intensive system, where increased fearfulness in the free-range system is associated with a decrease in preening and wing flapping?feather shaking.