Effect of sand and wood-shavings bedding on the behavior of broiler chickens

Poult Sci. 2005 Dec;84(12):1816-24. doi: 10.1093/ps/84.12.1816.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of 2 different bedding types, sand and wood shavings, on the behavior of broiler chickens. In experiment 1, 6 pens were divided down the center and bedded half with sand and half with wood shavings. Male broilers (10/pen) were observed by scan sampling at 5- or 12-min intervals throughout the 6-wk growth period during the morning (between 0800 to 0900 h), afternoon (1200 to 1500 h), and night (2300 to 0600 h). There was a significant behavior x substrate x week interaction during the day (P < 0.0001) and at night (P < 0.0002). Drinking, dustbathing, preening, and sitting increased in frequency on the sand side but decreased on the wood shavings side during the day, as did resting at night. In general, broilers performed a greater proportion of their total behavioral time budget on the sand (P < 0.0001) as they aged. Broilers used the divider between the 2 bedding types to perch; perching behavior peaked during wk 4. In experiment 2, male broilers were housed in 8 pens (50 birds/pen) bedded only in sand or wood shavings. Bedding type had no effect on behavioral time budgets (P = 0.8946), although there were age-related changes in behavior on both bedding types. These results indicate that when given a choice, broilers increasingly performed many of their behaviors on sand, but if only one bedding type was provided they performed those behaviors with similar frequency on sand or wood shavings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Chickens
  • Floors and Floorcoverings*
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Male
  • Silicon Dioxide*
  • Time Factors
  • Wood*


  • Silicon Dioxide