Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Feather pecking is a prominent issue in the commercial egg industry, associated with economic losses and welfare problems. A non-systematic literature search suggests that studies on feather pecking are predominantly concerned with applied research goals...

In the wild, excreta soiled surroundings can attract predators and spread disease. Yet, farmers rear broiler chicks in large barns with stocking densities that prevent excreta segregation. To measure chicks’ motivation to access unsoiled bedding...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

Factors contributing to the development of keel bone damage are not well understood. This study aimed to identify behaviors and cage structures associated with acceleration events experienced by individual hens at their keels as the...

Australian sheep routinely undergo painful surgical husbandry procedures without anaesthesia or analgesia. Electroencephalography (EEG) has been shown to be a successful measure of pain in livestock under a general anaesthetic. The aim of this study...

Chickens cannot independently thermoregulate at hatch and lack opportunity to behaviorally thermoregulate with a hen in the egg layer industry, thus barns are heated to thermoneutral temperatures. Dark brooders are low-energy-consuming hot plates, which may...

Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...

Chickens under appropriate light–dark programs can develop diurnal rhythms. However, actual needs of layer pullets for the light and dark environments are not fully understood. This study was to investigate the diurnal rhythms of pullets...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Natural light with ultraviolet spectrum (UV) influences the birds´ perception, the reflectivity of their plumage and affects bird behavior. Therefore, in Germany, laying hens kept in barns should be provided with daylight inlets. Nevertheless, lighting...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

Birds kept in commercial production systems can be exposed to multiple stressors from early life and this alters the development of different morphological, immunological and behavioural indicators. We explore the hypothesis that provision of a...

Beak trimming in laying hens limits the negative consequences of injurious pecking, but could be prohibited by future regulations. This study assessed a combination of management strategies during the rearing period (objects, perches, music, human...

Faecal soiling is one of the welfare indicators in the AWIN welfare assessment protocol for sheep (Ovis aries) and is measured by dag scores. Studies on dag scoring for ewes with docked and undocked tails...

The feed restriction applied during rearing of broiler breeders inflicts chronic hunger, and frustration due to unfulfilled behavioural needs for feeding. To alleviate the welfare problems associated with feed restriction, qualitative feed restriction allows a...

Broiler chickens show a preference for platform perches over traditional bar perches. Further information is needed on the optimal provision of these perches in order for them to be successfully installed in commercial systems. This...

Threshold temperatures for cold stress in sheep are not well understood, the available literature is somewhat dated and reports relate to winter temperatures that are relatively benign. Sheep’s preferences for outdoor versus indoor environments, when...

Under intensive rearing conditions, the welfare of broiler chickens may be at risk depending on genotype and sex, due to their different growth rates. The practice of quantitative feed restriction may also impact on welfare...

Ruminants evolved in diverse landscapes of which they utilized, by choice, a diverse arrangement of plants (grasses, forbs, and trees) for food. These plants provide them with both primary (carbohydrates, protein, etc.) and secondary (phenolics...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

Reduced mobility in broilers can contribute to leg health problems. Environmental enrichment has been suggested as one approach to combat this through stimulating increased physical activity. Past studies have tested the effect of environmental enrichments...

Enrichments during pullet rearing may improve adaptation and welfare of hens as they move from indoor rearing to a free-range system. Individual variation in outdoor ranging may also affect welfare. This study assessed the effects...

Broiler breeders are feed-restricted during rearing to avoid the negative consequences of obesity during lay due to their genetic potential for fast growth rate. Feed restriction leads to chronic hunger, frustration and lack of satiety...

Outdoor and extensive farming systems allow animals to behave in a natural way and are often perceived as welfare friendly. Nonetheless, the natural environment poses multiple challenges to the welfare of animals, sometimes hampering their...

Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...

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