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      Floor versus cage rearing: effects on production, egg quality and physical condition of laying hens housed in furnished cages Translated title: Cria em piso versus cria em bateria: efeitos na produção, qualidade de ovos e condição física de poedeiras alojadas em gaiolas enriquecidas


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          The influences of floor- and cage-rearing on egg production, egg quality and physical condition were investigated in laying hens housed in furnished cages. Two groups of 180 Isa Brown commercial layer pullets were reared in cages (CR) or floor pens (FR) and transferred to furnished cages, where their production, egg quality and physical condition was observed throughout the laying period (18-78wks of age). At 17 weeks of age, hens were placed in one of 36 furnished cages with 10 birds in each cage, each containing a nest box, perches, a dust bath, and abrasive strips. From 19 to 78 weeks of age, egg production data were collected daily. Commercial egg quality was assessed monthly. At, 19 and 78 weeks of age, claw length and feather cover were visually assessed using a four-point scale in a sample (10%) of hens. Production variables were above breeders’ standards and not significantly affected by rearing system. Dirty eggs and cracked eggs were more frequent in FR birds. Meat spots were significantly more frequent in FR hens at middle lay, but less frequently at the end of the laying period. Rearing system did not influence egg and yolk weight or unit Haugh and shell colour. Among FR hens, eggshell density, thickness and mass were significantly lower at the end of the laying period. Rearing system did not affect claw length, but the plumage of FR hens was negatively affected at the end of production cycle.

          Translated abstract

          Avaliou-se a influência dos sistemas de criação (em piso ou em baterias) sobre o desempenho produtivo, a qualidade de ovos e a condição física de poedeiras alojadas em gaiolas enriquecidas. Dois grupos de 180 frangas Isa brown foram criados em baterias (CR) ou em piso (FR) e transferidos para gaiolas enriquecidas, onde a produção, a qualidade de ovos e a condição física foram observadas durante um ciclo completo de postura (18-78 semanas de idade). Com 17 semanas de idade, as frangas foram alojadas em 36 gaiolas enriquecidas, 10 aves por gaiolas, cada uma contendo um ninho, poleiros, banho de areia e lixas de unhas. De 19 a 78 semanas de idade, a produção de ovos foi registrada diariamente. A qualidade comercial dos ovos foi medida mensalmente. Nas semanas 19 e 78 de idade, o comprimento das unhas e a condição da plumagem foram avaliadas utilizando-se uma escala de quatro pontos, numa amostra de 10% das aves. As variáveis produtivas estiveram acima dos padrões da linhagem e não foram afetadas significativamente pelo sistema de cria. Os ovos sujos ou trincados foram mais frequentes em poedeiras criadas em piso durante a metade do ciclo, mas menos frequentes ao final do ciclo de postura. O sistema de cria não influenciou o peso dos ovos, a gema, a cor da casca ou as unidades Haugh. A densidade, espessura da casca e massa de ovos foram significativamente menores em galinhas criadas em piso, ao final do ciclo de postura. O sistema de cria não afetou o comprimento das unhas, mas a conservação da plumagem das galinhas criadas em piso foi negativamente afetada ao final do ciclo de postura.

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          Most cited references19

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          Health and production in improved cage designs.

          R Tauson (1998)
          This paper describes the effects of various cage designs on health characteristics such as skeleton strength, plumage and foot condition, mortality, and some production traits such as egg quality and feed consumption. Three major steps in improving cage design and in developing new cage designs are described. Firstly, cage design in general has been improved by comparing different conventional commercial cage designs under the same experimental conditions. Secondly, unconventional design features, such as an abrasive strip to reduce excessive growth of claws or a perch to improve the behavioral repertoire for the hens as well as to strengthen skeletal structure, are described. Thirdly, the effects of fully furnished cages that also include a nest and dustbath for smaller or larger groups of birds are discussed. These designs create an environment in which the problems of conventional cages, such as behavioral restriction, are reduced and the shortcomings of large litter aviaries, such as cannibalism, parasites, and a poor working environment, are improved. Cages with one perch level containing groups of 4 to 10 hens seem more likely alternatives to conventional cages on larger scale farms than litter systems or colony cages for more than 10 birds. This is due mainly to the higher predictability of production, the decreased risk of cannibalism, and improved hygienic conditions.
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            Behaviour, health and integument of four hybrids of laying hens in modified and conventional cages.

            1. In 2 trials the health and behaviour of a total of 3552 caged laying hens of 4 hybrids, Dekalb XL, Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) and Shaver 288 in trial 1 and ISA Brown and LSL in trial 2, were studied. The cage designs were Get-away cages (GA) with 15 hens per cage, a special version of the 'Edinburgh modified cage' called 'Modified and enriched cage' (ME) with 4 ISA or 5 Leghorn hens per cage, conventional metal cages with 4 hens per cage without (CO) and with a perch (PC) and conventional plastic cages (PL) with three hens per cage. GA and ME included nests, perches and sandbaths. 2. In the first trial f1p4nest models were used, artificial turf and welded wire floor. In the second trial both nest models were used in GA, while all nests in ME were equipped with artificial turf. In the second trial there were 4 sandbath treatments in ME; no sandbath, sandbath (25 x 50 cm) first opened at 16 weeks of age, sandbath first opened at 26 weeks and double size sandbath (50 x 50 cm) first opened at 16 weeks. Hens in GA were allowed access to the sandbaths from 26 weeks. 3. At 35 and 55 weeks the best plumage condition (feather cover) was found in PL and GA but plumage condition in ME was not significantly inferior than in GA. Hens in GA had the dirtiest plumage and most bumble foot but no toe pad hyperkeratosis. Some toe pad hyperkeratosis occurred in the other systems. Most keel bone lesions were found in systems with perches. The highest mortality was registered in GA. Hens in systems with perches, sandbaths and nests had increased strength of humerus at slaughter. 4. More eggs were laid in nests with artificial turf than in welded wire floor nests. LSL hens laid larger proportions of eggs in the nests (94% and 92% in the two trials) than the other hybrids. Less than 1% of the eggs in ME and 2% in GA were laid in the sandbaths. 5. The use of perches in ME and PC was approximately 30% in the day time. At night the use was 93% in ME and 89% in PC in trial 1 and 96% in ME and 81% in PC in trial 2. 6. Hens in ME with the double sized sandbath both visited the sandbath and performed dust bathing behaviour most, followed by hens in GA, hens in ME with access to the bath from 16 weeks and last, hens in ME with access to the bath from 26 weeks. 7. It is concluded that enrichments of laying cages are used by the hens to a large extent if properly constructed and managed, implying an increased behavioural repertoire of the hens compared with conventional cages. With perches at only one level and with smaller groups of birds, ME provided better hygiene and inspection properties than GA.
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              Egg shell colour is affected by laying cage design.

              1. When laying hens are stressed some retain their eggs in the shell gland beyond the normal time of laying and this can result in the deposition of extra-cuticular calcium which makes brown eggs appear paler. 2. Three different types of enriched modified cage were compared: the location where eggs were laid was recorded and shell colour was measured using a reflectometer. 3. In 2 types of cage with enclosed nest boxes more eggs (80%) were laid in the nests than in a design with nest hollows in the open part of the cage (41%). 4. The eggs from the cages with enclosed nests were darker (had less extraneous calcium) than those with open nest hollows. This implies that in the designs with nest boxes fewer eggs had been retained and the hens may have been less stressed. 5. The results support previous evidence that to reduce stress and improve welfare it is desirable to provide enclosed nest sites for caged laying hens.

                Author and article information

                Ciência Rural
                Cienc. Rural
                Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (Santa Maria, RS, Brazil )
                August 2009
                : 39
                : 5
                : 1527-1532
                [01] Pelotas RS orgnameUniversidade Federal de Pelotas orgdiv1Faculdade de Agronomia Eliseu Maciel orgdiv2Departamento de Zootecnia Brasil roll98@ 123456ufpel.edu.br
                [02] Zaragoza orgnameUniversity of Zaragoza orgdiv1Faculty of Veterinary Medicine orgdiv2Department of Animal Production & Food Science Spain
                S0103-84782009000500034 S0103-8478(09)03900534

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                : 17 November 2006
                : 04 March 2009
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 22, Pages: 6

                SciELO Brazil

                Animal Production

                plumage,avicultura,desempenho,frangas de reposição,plumagem,sistema de criação,layer pullets,production,rearing system


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