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Production, egg quality, bone strength, claw length, and keel bone deformities of laying hens housed in furnished cages with different group sizes

Published on Oct 1, 2005in Poultry Science2.027
· DOI :10.1093/ps/84.10.1511
A. Vits4
Estimated H-index: 4
,
D. Weitzenbürger4
Estimated H-index: 4
+ 1 AuthorsOttmar Distl11
Estimated H-index: 11
Abstract
The effects of 3 different furnished cage systems (Aviplus, Eurovent 625a, Eurovent 625A) on 2 different laying hen strains [Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL), Lohmann Brown (LB)] were examined for the traits of production, egg quality, bone strength, claw length, and keel bone status. Two trials were carried out in which all hens received identical feeding and management. In brown hens, the traits egg production per average hen housed, cracked eggs, feed conversion, egg weight, and humerus breaking strength were significantly higher than in white hens. Furthermore, the claws of the brown hens were shorter than those of white hens. There were more dirty eggs, higher shell density, and fewer keel bone deformities in white hens than in brown hens. In the Aviplus system, egg production per average hen housed was higher than in the other systems, whereas shell thickness and density were lower. Humerus strength was also higher in the Aviplus than in the Eurovent 625a system, whereas there was no significant difference in tibia strength among the 3 systems. The shortest claws were found in the Aviplus system, and the fewest keel bone deformities occurred in the Eurovent 625a system. The study showed that the high standards of conventional cages for production and egg quality were met in furnished cages and that bone strength was significantly greater than in conventional cages. Claw shortening devices in furnished cages seemed satisfactory, because claws were generally short. However, the occurrence of keel bone deformities due to the intensive use of perches seemed to be a problem of furnished cages.
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References16
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Production performance, including egg quality, and proportion of eggs laid in nests were studied in furnished experimental cages incorporating nests, litter baths, and perches. The study comprised a total of 972 hens of two genotypes: Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) and Hy-Line White. The birds were studied from 20 to 80 wk of age, and conventional four-hen cages were included as a reference. In furnished cages for six hens, the effects of 30 or 50% vs. 100% nest bottom lining (Astro turf ® ) wer...
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Summary. This experiment evaluated the welfare of layer hens housed in cages modified with perches. Welfare was assessed on the basis of physiological measures of stress (corticosterone concentrations ‘at rest’ and in response to ACTH and heterophil : lymphocyte ratios) and immunological responsiveness, feather condition and cover, bone strength, claw length and between-bird pecking behaviour. Factors examined were cage modification (perches v. standard cage), tier (upper v. lower), birds (1 or ...
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