Journal Article

Effects of Dietary Energy Content on the Performance of Laying Hens in Furnished and Conventional Cages

E. Valkonen, E. Venäläinen, L. Rossow and J. Valaja

in Poultry Science

Published on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.

Volume 87, issue 5, pages 844-852
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0032-5791
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1525-3171 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2007-00237
Effects of Dietary Energy Content on the Performance of Laying Hens in Furnished and Conventional Cages

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This study examined the effects of dietary energy content on the egg production and egg quality of hens kept in 3-hen conventional cages or 8-hen furnished cages. A total of 1,088 Lohmann Selected Leghorn hens were housed in either furnished or conventional cages and offered low- or high-energy diets (from 2,342 to 2,414 kcal/kg or from 2,581 to 2,629 kcal/kg) during 3 consecutive feeding phases of 20, 16, and 16 wk, respectively. The same dietary energy effects were observed in both cage systems. The hens that received the low-energy diet consumed more feed (P < 0.01) and produced fewer eggs per day (P < 0.05) than the birds fed the high-energy diet. Over the entire experiment, housing had no significant effects on production parameters, but during the third feeding phase, the production rate was smaller in furnished cages than in conventional cages (P < 0.01). Because of the greater live weight of the hens in furnished cages at the beginning of the experiment, these hens consumed more feed during the first feeding phase than the hens in conventional cages. During the third feeding phase, the hens in furnished cages consumed less feed than those in conventional cages (P < 0.01), probably because of their better feather cover. No differences in feed conversion ratio were found between the cage types. The results of this study confirm the results of previous studies providing evidence of equal production rates and feed conversion ratios in furnished and conventional cages.

Keywords: laying hen; furnished cage; dietary energy; production; well-being

Journal Article.  6046 words. 

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