Background & Aims



The commercial hatchery process is a critical period for the development of young chickens, and stressors during this stage can have long-lasting effects on their well-being and productivity. Mitigating the negative consequences of early stress is crucial to promote the welfare and performance of commercial poultry.

One approach to potentially buffer early stress is by providing environmental enrichment that mimics the outdoors, as an increased environmental complexity has been seen to improve chick’s coping abilities, a reduced fearfulness, and less stress-related behaviours.

This thesis aims to investigate whether early stress experienced during commercial hatchery processing in White Leghorn chickens can be mitigated or buffered by environmental enrichment that mimics the outdoors.

By evaluating various enrichment strategies and measuring relevant physiological and behavioural parameters, this research could potentially help to improve the welfare and productivity of commercial poultry during this critical developmental period.