The effect of furnished cages on the immune response of laying hens under social stress

Matur E., Eraslan E., Akyazi I., Ekiz E. E., Eseceli H., Keten M., ...More

POULTRY SCIENCE, vol.94, no.12, pp.2853-2862, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 94 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.3382/ps/pev297
  • Journal Name: POULTRY SCIENCE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2853-2862
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of the study was to examine the effects of cage furnishing and social stress on some lymphoid organ weight and innate, cell-mediated, and humoral immune responses in laying hens. Sixty-four chickens were used. The chickens were divided into 2 groups; one of the groups was reared in furnished cages (RFC) and the other was reared in conventional cages (RCC). In wk 17, social stress was applied. Heterophil and lymphocyte percentages; liver, spleen, thymus, and bursa of Fabricius weights; phagocytic activity; oxidative burst and chemotaxic activity of heterophil; CD4+ and CD8+ cell proportions; and antibody production were measured. The effect of rearing methods was significant on heterophil, lymphocyte percentage, heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, and antibody production. Heterophil percentage and H/L ratio were lower (P = 0.001, P = 0.001, respectively), and antibody production was higher (P = 0.003) in RFC hens compared to RCC hens. The main effect of social stress was also significant on heterophil, lymphocyte percentages, and H/L ratio. Heterophil percentage was higher (P = 0.049); H/L ratio tended to be higher (P = 0.068); and lymphocyte percentage tended to be lower (P = 0.072) due to stress. In addition, thymus and bursa of Fabricius weights tended to be lower (P = 0.073 and P = 0.074, respectively) in stressed hens. There were significant interactions between rearing methods and social stress on oxidative burst, chemotaxic activity, and CD4+ and CD8+ proportion (P = 0.001, P = 0.004, P = 0.054, and P = 0.001, respectively). These parameters were significantly higher in RFC hens, when they were exposed to stress. On the other hand, they did not differ in RCC or unstressed RFC hens. These results indicated that cage furnishing positively affected heterophil functions, CD4+ and CD8+ cell proportions, and antibody production. Therefore, we suggest that cage furnishing, which is recommended for improving the welfare of animals, is also beneficial for improving the immune response of hens under the stress condition.