Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 10, Issue 2,2012
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Effect of genotype and housing system on egg production, egg quality and welfare of laying hens


Mirjana Djukić Stojčić 1*, Lidija Perić 1, Niko Milošević 1, Vesna Rodić 1, Dragan Glamočić 1, Zdenka Škrbić 2, Miloš Lukić 2

Recieved Date: 2012-01-01, Accepted Date: 2012-04-20


The aim of this work was to evaluate production traits, egg quality parameters and welfare indicators of two strains of layers (Hisex White and Hy Line Brown) kept in different housing systems. In each housing system both strains of layers were housed and that made 6 treatments in 2 x 3 factorial design (2 genotypes x 3 cage types).  A) conventional battery-cages with 5 hens per cage providing 500 cm² of floor space per bird (n = 180 (90 white and 90 brown layers), 36 cages in total, 5 hens/cage, floor space = 500 cm²/hen); B) enlarged battery-cages with 5 hens per cage providing 650 cm² of floor space per bird (n = 120 (60 white and 60 brown layers),  24 cages in total, 5 hens/cage, floor space =  650 cm²/hen); C) enriched cages with 60 hens per compartment providing 750 cm² of floor space per bird (n = 360 (180 white and 180 brown layers), 6 cages in total, 60 hens/cage, floor space = 750 cm²/hen). Examination of egg quality parameters was carried out in 8 four-week periods, starting from 32 weeks of age on the random sample of 30 eggs per treatment. Condition of feathers ware evaluated by scoring system at the end of the production cycle (70 weeks of age), and at the same time duration of tonic immobility was measured. The results showed that white layers in conventional cages achieved the best production results. The highest number of eggs was achieved with white layers in B and the lowest with the brown layers in C. White layers laid considerably more eggs compared to brown layers and had the best shell quality in all of the three housing systems. The birds in enriched cages laid significantly less eggs compared to other two cage types. The worst feather condition at the end of the production cycle was noticed in conventional cages (A) in both hybrids. Generally, brown layers suffered from more severe feather damage in all cage types compared to the white layers. The results showed a significant effect of cage type (p<0.01) and hybrid type (p<0.05) on duration of tonic immobility (TI) indicating that fearfulness of the birds was highly affected by housing system and genotype. Birds from both genotypes kept in conventional cages showed a shorter duration of TI than the birds kept in enriched cages and the white layers showed longer duration of TI than the brown layers. 


Genotypes, cages, egg quality, laying hens, production, welfare

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2012
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 556-559

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