Development of furnished cages re-using conventional cages for laying hens: Behaviour, physical condition and productivity

Shimmura, T.; Maekawa, N.; Hirahara, S.; Tanaka, T.; Appleby, M.C.

Animal Science Journal 89(2): 498-504


ISSN/ISBN: 1344-3941
PMID: 29154482
DOI: 10.1111/asj.12955
Accession: 059599564

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Furnished cages for laying hens have advantages in allowing normal behaviors and maintaining productivity. As the cost of introduction is a barrier for farms, we developed furnished cages that re-use conventional cages. To determine the minimum and functional cage design, we compared six designs, combinations of two floor designs (artificial turf or wire cage floor) and three screening designs in the integrated area (no screening, one entrance side or four sides). In total, 144 hens were used, and we measured behavior, physical condition and productivity. Comparing the floors, the percentages of hens performing dust-bathing and laying eggs in the integrated area were higher in cages with turf than wire floor (P < 0.05 for both). Comparing the screening, dust-bathing, litter-exploring and active behavior tended to be more frequent in cages with the integrated area screened on one side than four sides. Feather damage was lower in cages with the integrated area screened on one side than with no screening (P < 0.05). These results suggest that the cage design with an integrated area with artificial turf floor, screened on one side, was effective for furnished cages that re-use conventional cages.