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

Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bünteweg, Hannover, Germany.
Poultry Science (Impact Factor: 1.67). 11/2005; 84(10):1511-9. DOI: 10.1093/ps/84.10.1511
Source: PubMed

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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    • "Keel bones with deviations were observed in developing the Wilkins method; however, they were excluded from the scoring system as this alteration in shape was believed to result from a normal remodeling process in response to continual, low-grade pressures. For instance, perching is a likely source of such pressure and has been shown to be associated with deviations (Tauson and Abrahamsson, 1994; Vits et al., 2005; Barnett et al., 2009; Pickel et al., 2011; Regmi and Karcher, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Keel bone damage (KBD) is a critical issue facing the laying hen industry today as a result of the likely pain leading to compromised welfare and the potential for reduced productivity. Recent reports suggest that damage, while highly variable and likely dependent on a host of factors, extends to all systems (including battery cages, furnished cages, and non-cage systems), genetic lines, and management styles. Despite the extent of the problem, the research community remains uncertain as to the causes and influencing factors of KBD. Although progress has been made investigating these factors, the overall effort is hindered by several issues related to the assessment of KBD, including quality and variation in the methods used between research groups. These issues prevent effective comparison of studies, as well as difficulties in identifying the presence of damage leading to poor accuracy and reliability. The current manuscript seeks to resolve these issues by offering precise definitions for types of KBD, reviewing methods for assessment, and providing recommendations that can improve the accuracy and reliability of those assessments. © 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
    Poultry Science 08/2015; DOI:10.3382/ps/pev223 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    • "The CCP hens had more toe damage and longer claws than AVP hens. Longer claws can be associated with increased toe damage , particularly broken claws (Vits et al., 2005). In the present study, toe damage was scored if the toes were injured, scratched, or broken or the claw was broken off. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Welfare Quality(®) Assessment protocol for poultry ( WQA: ) provides animal-based measures allowing welfare comparisons across farms and housing systems. It was used to compare Lohmann LSL Classic White hens housed in an enriched colony ( EC: ), aviary ( AV: ), and conventional cage system ( CC: ) on a commercial farm over 2 flock cycles. Hens (n = 100/system) were scored on a variety of measures. A baseline measurement was made at placement at 19 wk of age for 1 flock, since AV hens had been reared in an aviary pullet facility ( AVP: while EC and CC hens were reared in a conventional pullet facility ( CCP: ). Hens in all systems were then assessed at 52 and 72 wk of age. Necropsies were performed on all mortalities 1 wk before and after the WQA sampling. WQAs were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests for prevalence and Fisher's exact tests for severity. There was an effect of rearing, with AVP having shorter claws (P = 0.01), dirtier feathers (P = 0.03), and more keel abnormalities (P < 0.0001) than CCP at placement. For the hens, there were several significant housing system effects across flocks and age periods (all P ≤ 0.05). AV and EC hens had more keel abnormalities than CC hens. They also had fewer foot abnormalities than CC hens, although those in AV hens were more severe. AV hens had consistently dirtier feathers than EC and CC hens. While AV hens had the best overall feather cover, feather loss patterns suggested that loss was due to head pecking for AV, whereas in EC and CC it was due to cage abrasion. The necropsy findings and the WQA results were similar, except that the WQA failed to find enteritis at 19 wk, although it was detected in the necropsies during this sampling period. These results show that the WQA is a useful tool for detecting hen condition differences across housing systems. © 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
    Poultry Science 08/2015; DOI:10.3382/ps/pev227 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    • "(Holt et al., 2011; Lay et al., 2011). A plethora of research populated in Europe has examined the enriched colony cage and cage-free aviary; however, differences in housing system management, bird genetics, and egg holding methodology limit the applicability of the results to the US system (Abrahamsson and Tauson, 1998; Wall and Tauson, 2002; Guesdon and Faure, 2004; Van Den Brand et al., 2004; Vits et al., 2005; Hidalgo et al., 2008; Wall, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The US egg industry is exploring alternative housing systems for laying hens. However, limited published research related to cage-free aviary systems and enriched colony cages exists related to production, egg quality, and hen nutrition. The laying hen's nutritional requirements and resulting productivity are well established with the conventional cage system, but diminutive research is available in regards to alternative housing systems. The restrictions exist with limited availability of alternative housing systems in research settings and the considerable expense for increased bird numbers in a replicate due to alternative housing system design. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to evaluate the impact of nutrient and energy intake on production and egg quality parameters from laying hens housed at a commercial facility. Lohmann LSL laying hens were housed in three systems: enriched colony cage, cage-free aviary, and conventional cage at a single commercial facility. Daily production records were collected along with dietary changes during 15 production periods (28-d each). Eggs were analyzed for shell strength, shell thickness, Haugh unit, vitelline membrane properties, and egg solids each period. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) coupled with a principal components analysis (PCA) approach was utilized to assess the impact of nutritional changes on production parameters and monitored egg quality factors. The traits of hen-day production and mortality had a response only in the PCA 2 direction. This finds that as house temperature and Met intake increases, there is an inflection point at which hen-day egg production is negatively effected. Dietary changes more directly influenced shell parameters, vitelline membrane parameters, and egg total solids as opposed to laying hen housing system. Therefore, further research needs to be conducted in controlled research settings on laying hen nutrient and energy intake in the alternative housing systems and resulting impact on egg quality measures. © 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.
    Poultry Science 01/2015; 94(3). DOI:10.3382/ps/peu078 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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