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Poultry Production Systems Behaviour, Management and Welfare

A. ELSON. Poultry Production Systems
Behaviour, Management and Welfare. 1992.
C.A.B. International, Wallingford, Oxon
OX10 8DE, U.K., 238 pp., hardcover.
Available from University of Arizona
845 Park Ave., Suite 102, Tucson,
AZ 85719. $76.00.
Poultry Production Systems Behaviour,
Management and Welfare (a long title for a
small book) provides a discourse on the
interaction of contemporary production
systems with poultry biology and be-
havior for these economically important
animals. The book reviews bird behavior
and welfare under various production
systems and begins with two well-written
forwards by noted scientists. The first
section of each chapter in the book starts
with summary statements.
The book is divided into two parts. Part
I details in six, well-organized, concise,
and informative chapters, the origins and
biology of poultry, an overview of the
poultry industry, the bird's physical en-
vironment, husbandry systems (from free
ranging to aviaries and percheries), eco-
nomics of poultry production systems,
public opinion, and animal welfare legisla-
tion. Part II contains six chapters that
provide a perspective on the interaction of
poultry behavior with individual manage-
ment parameters in poultry production
systems. The first chapter in Part II
discusses behavior, how genotypes can
modify behavior under varying environ-
ments, and measuring behavioral needs.
Subsequent chapters discuss the interac-
tions of poultry behavior with the produc-
tion environment and the processes of
feeding and drinking, social behavior,
reproduction, egg laying, and freedom of
movement and comfort maintenance. Fol-
lowing the summary section in these
chapters is a synoptic paragraph describ-
ing the behavior of feral poultry, with
which production poultry can be com-
pared. Unfortunately, some of the chapter
titles do not adequately identify the sub-
ject matter content that is skillfully ad-
dressed in these chapters.
The references cited are both contem-
porary (including works published in
the same year as the book's publica-
and relevant to the poultry industry.
Throughout the book, the chicken is the
main species discussed but there are a few
referrals to turkeys. The print type, quality
of photographs, and use of charts and line
drawings were well conceived and com-
plement the narratives.
The book's orientation and most of its
examples are derived from the European
poultry industry but the book provides a
view of the public perceptions and legisla-
tive activities that have influenced the
poultry industry in the United Kingdom
and may be forthcoming in North
America. Though not a compendium of
poultry behavior and production systems,
the authors have made the case in an
industry that is driven by efficiency, that
the industry cannot defer conscious efforts
to insure the physical and mental well-
being of poultry. These authors have
skillfully crafted an insightful, pertinent
review with appropriate example and
provocative observations that will assist
the poultry industry in becoming aware
that the well-being of birds entails more
than feed, water, air quality, and housing.
The poultry industry must be vigilant
in improving poultry management. This
book will provide the poultry producer,
veterinarian, and breeder with a new
management factor, the bird's welfare.
This book merits reading.
Poultry welfare is a subject that should
be addressed in the formal education
system. This book would be a suitable
supplemental text for a senior under-
graduate and beginning graduate level
course in poultry management and poul-
try welfare or a resource text for seminars.
It is unfortunate that the price of the book
will probably limit its distribution. A less
costly paperback edition should be consid-
ered. Regardless, this book would be an
appropriate accession for poultry library
—Thomas F. Savage
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