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An evaluation of layer performance in deep and shallow cages at different densities

An evaluation of layer performance in deep and shallow cages at different densities

Poultry Science 60(9): 2010-2016

The effects of population density and cage design upon production performance and net income per bird were determined for 3 population densities in 2 commercial cage designs. The deep design cage front measured 38.1 cm by 50.8 cm on the side while the shallow cage measured 60.9 cm across the front and 35.5 cm in depth. Densities comparable to industry were used. A total of 1620 commercial strain White Leghorns were tested to 455 days of age in an environmentally-controlled high-rise house. In the deep cage, increasing population density resulted in consistent but nonsignificant (P > 0.05) reductions in egg production. Significant (P < 0.05) reductions in body weight, total feed usage per bird, egg weight, egg mass and number of eggs grading large or better were associated with increased population density. Differences for mortality, feed conversion, percentage undergrades and net egg income over feed and pullet costs were not observed. In the shallow cage, egg production, body weight, total feed usage per bird, egg mass and percentage undergrades were reduced only at the highest density. Mortality, egg weight, eggs grading large plus and net egg income were not affected by population density in the shallow cage. Pullets in deep cages laid fewer eggs, had smaller body weight, used less total feed, had smaller eggs, less egg mass and fewer eggs grading large or better, than pullets in shallow cages with comparable population sizes. There were no differences between cage designs for mortality, feed conversion percentage undergrades and net egg income per bird. The increased feed consumption of the birds in shallow cages nullified advantages gained elsewhere for net income per bird.

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Accession: 000819672

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.3382/ps.0602010

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