À propos de ce cours
This course explains the general principles of chicken behaviour and welfare, and the behavioural and physiological indicators that can be used to assess welfare in chickens kept in hobby flocks through to commercial farms. The focus is primarily on laying hens and meat chickens (broilers) although many of the principles are relevant to other types of poultry. The course is likely to be of interest to people who own chickens as pets or keep a small hobby flock, commercial egg and chicken meat producers, veterinarians and vet nurses. Learning Objectives: at the end of this course, you will be able to - - Describe avian sensory perception and motivation - Explain the main behaviour patterns of poultry - Define welfare and explain the bases of welfare standards - Assess chicken welfare, using behavioural and physiological means - Understand common welfare problems of chickens This course is taught by staff from Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), University of Glasgow, and St David's Poultry Team. You can follow us on Twitter! #chickenmooc © University of Edinburgh and Scotland's Rural College 2016 CC BY

Cours en ligne à 100 %

Commencez dès maintenant et apprenez aux horaires qui vous conviennent.

Approx. 8 heures pour terminer

Recommandé : 4 hours/week
Comment Dots


Sous-titres : English, French

Cours en ligne à 100 %

Commencez dès maintenant et apprenez aux horaires qui vous conviennent.

Approx. 8 heures pour terminer

Recommandé : 4 hours/week
Comment Dots


Sous-titres : English, French

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


18 minutes to complete

Getting Started

This brief module will tell you all the things you need to know to begin, including the syllabus of the course, who we are, how to engage with one another....
2 videos (Total 8 min), 1 reading
Video2 videos
Rules of engagement (from Animal Behaviour & Welfare course)6m
Reading1 readings
Finding more information10m
2 hours to complete

Introduction to Animal Behaviour: Domestication, Behaviour Development and Learning, the Senses

Welcome to the first week of the Chicken Behaviour and Welfare Course. If you haven't seen it - watch the video which introduces you to the course: you can find it under "Getting Started; Welcome!" During this lesson, we will consider what makes a domestic animal, how behaviour develops in the chicken from before hatching and beyond, different types of learning and the senses - vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch. ...
13 videos (Total 28 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video13 videos
What is a chicken?1m
Prehatch and hatching1m
Other types of learning3m
Hormones and Behaviour0m
Smell and Touch2m
Interview with Sarah Brocklehurst3m
Reading5 readings
What is a chicken? Some images10m
Smithsonian's How the chicken conquered the world.10m
Learning who is your mother10m
Exercise: how operant conditioning works10m
Article on vision10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Domestication, Development and Learning, the Senses30m


2 hours to complete

Behaviour Patterns of Chickens, Part 1

During this week, we will consider some of the major behaviour patterns of chickens, such as maintenance behaviours of chickens, and social behaviours. Maintenance behaviours means feeding, drinking, and comfort activities. Comfort activities include preening, dustbathing, and perching (among others). Social behaviours include communication, dominance, aggression, and spacing. This week will be a combination of video lectures, in-video quizzes and an interview with a backyard producer. ...
12 videos (Total 32 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video12 videos
Feeding Behaviour1m
History Of Feeding, Contrafreeloading3m
Motivation To Show Feeding Phases1m
Broiler Feeding Behaviour1m
Drinking Behaviour3m
Preening And Dustbathing4m
Stretching, Wing Flapping, Thermoregulation, Sleeping3m
Dominance Behaviour, Aggression, Bird-to-bird Pecking5m
Social Spacing1m
Reading4 readings
Article on feed choice in chickens10m
Drinking from a nipple drinker or dish10m
Distinction between preening, and oiling + preening10m
Aggression between males10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Behaviour part 130m


2 hours to complete

Behaviour Patterns of Chickens, Part 2

Welcome back everyone! During this week, we will consider the reproduction process in chickens, from courtship to brooding and hatching of eggs. We will then look at some abnormal behaviours that you might see in chickens. This week will be a combination of video lectures, in-video quizzes, video clips from outside sources, and a downloadable poster on eggshell abnormality....
12 videos (Total 40 min), 6 readings, 1 quiz
Video12 videos
Mating Behaviour2m
Nesting and Laying Behaviour2m
Brooding Behaviour2m
Problems With Nesting And Laying Behaviour4m
Interview With Johnny - Breeding And Preparing For The Show Ring5m
Interview With Derek - Small-scale Commercial Broiler Incubation And Hatching9m
Feather Pecking And Cannibalism6m
Stereotypic Behaviours1m
Overdrinking (polydipsia)1m
Litter Eating0m
Reading6 readings
Transcript for interview with Johnny - Breeding and preparing for the show ring10m
Hens that go broody10m
How to assess developing embryos in eggs10m
Egg shell abnormalities10m
Egg eating10m
Different types of feather pecking10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Behaviour part 228m


1 hour to complete

What is chicken welfare? Defining "welfare", ethical obligations, and welfare standards

During this week, we will consider what we mean by "animal welfare", and how a set of criteria known as the Five Freedoms can help you assess it. Dr Dorothy McKeegan from the University of Glasgow will discuss what the ethical obligations are of meeting an animal's welfare needs, and we will explore some of the various welfare standards that exist. Finally, we will look at welfare indicators, and Dr Barry Thorp from St David's Veterinary Team will discuss with Vicky what signs to look for in chicken flocks to make a welfare assessment. This week's Learning Outcomes: •Define 'welfare' and the Five Freedoms •What drives our ethical choices, including cost-benefit analysis •Describe some welfare standards available worldwide and how they differ •Explain ways to assess welfare, using behavioural and physiological indices...
5 videos (Total 16 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video5 videos
Ethics and Poultry Production4m
Welfare Organisations and Accreditation Schemes2m
Effects of Stressors1m
Assessing Welfare: Behavioural and Physiological Measures5m
Reading3 readings
Ruth Harrison10m
Article on a 'good life' for hens10m
Welfare accreditation schemes10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Welfare, ethics, welfare standards24m
A Life Worth Living Exercise (just for fun)6m


2 hours to complete

Effects of housing, transport and slaughter on bird welfare

This is the last week of the Chicken Behaviour and Welfare course, you are almost at the finish line... During this week, we will consider the welfare of layer hens and broiler (meat) chickens, from hatch to slaughter, particularly in common commercial systems. This week's Learning Outcomes: •Compare the most common housing systems used in Europe for laying hens •Compare the most common housing systems used in Europe for broiler chickens •Discuss the pros and cons of free range housing •Describe methods of emergency killing •Discuss different transport requirements, depending on the scale •Describe some of the common methods of slaughtering poultry....
10 videos (Total 66 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video10 videos
Egg Production: Free Range7m
Chicken (Broiler) Production8m
Interview With Barry: Is Free Range Always Best?11m
Introduction To Killing Sick Or Injured Stock1m
Methods Of Culling Poultry3m
How Do You Know A Bird Is Dead?2m
Introduction To Transport4m
Depopulation, Transport, And Lairage6m
Stunning And Slaughter2m
Reading2 readings
Laying hens: supplement to the Code of Practice10m
Article on welfare problems in meat chickens10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Housing, transport and slaughter28m

Top Reviews

By CLOct 7th 2016

Fantastic course if you're just starting out in the world of chickens. I feel that I gained vital knowledge which has boosted my confidence in my abilities as a back garden hen keeper.

By ASJun 9th 2016

I found this course to be very informative for those who are beginning to learn about chickens or would like to expand their knowledge to improve conditions for their backyard flock.



Dr Victoria Sandilands

Senior scientist

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