Advertisement

A Novel Model to Explain Extreme Feather Pecking Behavior in Laying Hens

  • H. Iffland
  • R. Wellmann
  • S. Preuß
  • J. Tetens
  • W. Bessei
  • H.-P. Piepho
  • J. BennewitzEmail author
Original Research

Abstract

Feather pecking (FP) is a serious economic and welfare problem in the domestic fowl. It has recently been shown that the distribution of FP bouts within groups is heterogeneous and contains a sub-population of extreme feather peckers (EFP). The present study proposed a novel model to detect EFP hens. A mixture of two negative binomial distributions was fitted to FP data of a F2 cross of about 960 hens, and, based on the results, a calculation of the posterior probability for each hen belonging to the EFP subgroup (pEFP) was done. The fit of the mixture distribution revealed that the EFP subgroup made up a proportion of one third of the F2 cross. The EFP birds came more frequently into pecking mood and showed higher pecking intensities compared to the remaining birds. Tonic immobility and emerge box tests were conducted at juvenile and adult age of the hens to relate fearfulness to EFP. After dichotomization, all traits were analyzed in a multivariate threshold model and a genomewide association study was performed. The new trait pEFP has a medium heritability of 0.35 and is positively correlated with the fear traits. Breeding for this new trait could be an interesting option to reduce the proportion of extreme feather peckers. An index of fear related traits might serve as a proxy to breed indirectly for pEFP. GWAS revealed that all traits are typical quantitative traits with many genes and small effects contributing to the genetic variance.

Keywords

Laying hen Extreme feather pecking Fearfulness Genetic architecture Mixture distributions 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG, Bonn, Germany) (Grant No. BE3703/8-2).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

H. Iffland, R. Wellmann, S. Preuß, J. Tetens, W. Bessei, H.-P. Piepho, J. Bennewitz declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

References

  1. Bennewitz J, Bögelein S, Stratz P, Rodehutscord M, Piepho HP, Kjaer JB, Bessei W (2014) Genetic parameters for feather pecking and aggressive behavior in a large F2-cross of laying hens using generalized linear mixed models. Poult Sci 93:810–817.  https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2013-03638 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Browning SR, Browning BL (2007) Rapid and accurate haplotype phasing and missing-data inference for whole-genome association studies by use of localized haplotype clustering. Am J Hum Genet 81:1084–1097.  https://doi.org/10.1086/521987 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Buitenhuis AJ, Rodenburg TB, Siwek M, Cornelissen SJB, Nieuwland MGB, Crooijmans RPMA, Groenen MAM, Koene P, Bovenhuis H, van der Poel JJ (2003) Identification of quantitative trait loci for receiving pecks in young and adult laying hens. Poult Sci 82:1661–1667.  https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/82.11.1661 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. De Haas EN, van der Eijk JAJ (2018) Where in the serotonergic system does it go wrong? Unravelling the route by which the serotonergic system affects feather pecking in chickens. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 95:170–188.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.07.007 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Evans DM, Smith GD (2015) Mendelian randomization: new applications in the coming age of hypothesis-free causality. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 16:327–350.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genom-090314-050016 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Forkman B, Boissy A, Meunier-Salaün M-C, Canali E, Jones RB (2007) A critical review of fear tests used on cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry and horses. Physiol Behav 92:340–374.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.03.016 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gianola D, Sorensen D (2004) Quantitative genetic models for describing simultaneous and recursive relationships between phenotypes. Genetics 167:1407–1424.  https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.103.025734 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Grams V, Bessei W, Piepho HP, Bennewitz J (2014) Genetic parameters for feather pecking and aggressive behavior in laying hens using Poisson and linear models. In Proceedings of the 10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production: 17–22 August 2014, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  9. Grams V, Wellmann R, Preuß S, Grashorn M, Kjaer JB, Bessei W, Bennewitz J (2015a) Genetic parameters and signatures of selection in two divergent laying hen lines selected for feather pecking behaviour. Genet Sel Evol 47:77.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12711-015-0154-0 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Grams V, Bögelein S, Grashorn M, Bessei W, Bennewitz J (2015b) Quantitative genetic analysis of traits related to fear and feather pecking in laying hens. Behav Genet 45:228–235.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-014-9695-1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hadfield JD (2010) MCMC methods for multi-response generalized linear mixed models: the MCMCglmm R package. J Stat Softw 33:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hayeck TJ, Zaitlen NA, Loh P-R, Vilhjalmsson B, Pollack S, Gusev A, Yang J, Chen G-B, Goddard ME, Visscher PM, Patterson N, Price AL (2015) Mixed model with correction for case-control ascertainment increases association power. Am J Hum Genet 96:720–730.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.03.004 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayeck TJ, Loh P-R, Pollack S, Gusev A, Patterson N, Zaitlen NA, Price AL (2017) Mixed model association with family-biased case-control ascertainment. Am J Hum Genet 100:31–39.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.11.015 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Jensen P, Keeling LJ, Schütz K, Andersson L, Mormède P, Brändström H, Forkman B, Kerje S, Fredriksson R, Ohlsson C, Larsson S, Mallmin H, Kindmark A (2005) Feather pecking in chickens is genetically related to behavioural and developmental traits. Physiol Behav 86:52–60.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.06.029 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnson NL, Kotz S, Kemp AW (1993) Univariate discrete distributions, 2nd edn. A Wiley-Interscience publication, Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones RB, Mills AD (1983) Estimation of fear in two lines of the domestic chick: correlations between various methods. Behav Proc 8:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones RB, Blokhuis HJ, Beuving G (1995) Open-field and tonic immobility responses in domestic chicks of two genetic lines differing in their propensity to feather peck. Br Poult Sci 36:525–530.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00071669508417798 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kjaer JB, Sørensen P (1997) Feather pecking behaviour in White Leghorns, a genetic study. Br Poult Sci 38:333–341.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00071669708417999 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kjaer JB, Sørensen P, Su G (2001) Divergent selection on feather pecking behaviour in laying hens (Gallus gallus domesticus). Appl Anim Behav Sci 71:229–239CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Labouriau R, Kjaer JB, Abreu GCG, Hedegaard J, Buitenhuis AJ (2009) Analysis of severe feather pecking behavior in a high feather pecking selection line. Poult Sci 88:2052–2062.  https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00113 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lutz V, Stratz P, Preuß S, Tetens J, Grashorn M, Bessei W, Bennewitz J (2017) A genome-wide association study in a large F2-cross of laying hens reveals novel genomic regions associated with feather pecking and aggressive pecking behavior. Genet Sel Evol 49:18.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12711-017-0287-4 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Macdonald P, Du J (2018) mixdist: Finite mixture distribution models: R package. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=mixdist
  23. Mignon-Grasteau S, Chantry-Darmon C, Boscher M-Y, Sellier N, Le Bihan-Duval E, Bertin A (2017) Genetic determinism of fearfulness, general activity and feeding behavior in chickens and its relationship with digestive efficiency. Behav Genet 47:114–124.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-016-9807-1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Piepho HP, Lutz V, Kjaer JB, Grashorn M, Bennewitz J, Bessei W (2017) The presence of extreme feather peckers in groups of laying hens. Animal 11:500–506.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731116001579 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. R Core Team (2017) A language and environment for statistical computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org/
  26. Recoquillay J, Pitel F, Arnould C, Leroux S, Dehais P, Moréno C, Calandreau L, Bertin A, Gourichon D, Bouchez O, Vignal A, Fariello MI, Minvielle F, Beaumont C, Leterrier C, Le Bihan-Duval E (2015) A medium density genetic map and QTL for behavioral and production traits in Japanese quail. BMC Genomics 16:10.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-014-1210-9 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodenburg TB, Buitenhuis AJ, Ask B, Uitdehaag KA, Koene P, van der Poel JJ, Bovenhuis H (2003) Heritability of feather pecking and open-field response of laying hens at two different ages. Poult Sci 82:861–867.  https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/82.6.861 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Rodenburg TB, Buitenhuis AJ, Ask B, Uitdehaag KA, Koene P, van der Poel JJ, van Arendonk JAM, Bovenhuis H (2004) Genetic and phenotypic correlations between feather pecking and open-field response in laying hens at two different ages. Behav Genet 34:407–415.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:BEGE.0000023646.46940.2d CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodenburg TB, van Krimpen MM, de Jong IC, de Haas EN, Kops MS, Riedstra BJ, Nordquist RE, Wagenaar JP, Bestman M, Nicol CJ (2013) The prevention and control of feather pecking in laying hens: Identifying the underlying principles. Worlds Poult Sci J 69:361–374.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0043933913000354 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rodenburg TB, van der Eijk JAJ, Pichová K, van Mil B, de Haas EN (2017) PhenoLab: automatic recording of location, activity and proximity in group-housed laying hens. Proceedings of the ISAE Benelux conference 12. Oktober 2017, p. 21Google Scholar
  31. Schmid M, Wellmann R, Bennewitz J (2018) Power and precision of QTL mapping in simulated multiple porcine F2 crosses using whole-genome sequence information. BMC Genet 19:22.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12863-018-0604-0 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. Schütz KE, Kerje S, Jacobsson L, Forkman B, Carlborg Ö, Andersson L, Jensen P (2004) Major growth QTLs in fowl are related to fearful behavior: possible genetic links between fear responses and production traits in a red Junglefowl x White Leghorn intercross. Behav Genet 34:121–130CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Van der Eijk JAJ, Lammers A, Li P, Kjaer JB, Rodenburg TB (2018) Feather pecking genotype and phenotype affect behavioural responses of laying hens. Appl Anim Behav Sci 205:141–150.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.05.027 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Veestergaard KS, Kruit JP, Hogan JA (1993) Feather pecking and chronic fear in groups of red jungle fowl: their relations to dustbathing, rearing environment and social status. Anim Behav 45:1127–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Animal ScienceUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Crop ScienceUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

Personalised recommendations