Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2003
Publication Date: 6/1/2003
Citation: Gast, R.K., Ricke, S.C. 2003. Symposium introduction. Poultry Science. 82:964. Interpretive Summary: Not required.
Technical Abstract: Induced molting to revive the productivity of aging laying flocks has been widely practiced by the commercial egg industry in the United States for many years. Recently, the induction of molting by feed deprivation has been the focus of vigorous criticism on the basis of both animal welfare implications and food safety consequences. Animal welfare activists have attempted to ban induced molting through legislative action and have influenced corporate decisions denying market access to eggs from molted flocks. Feed deprivation has also been identified by researchers and public health authorities as a significant risk factor in the susceptibility of chickens to infection with Salmonella enteritidis, the most important pathogen known to be transmitted to humans inside eggs. The objective of this symposium is to review the current scientific background regarding induced molting of egg-laying chickens, including its application by the poultry industry, its physiological basis and implications, and its behavioral and microbiological effects. The combined perspective of this information is intended to provide a context for assessing the benefits and consequences of molting laying flocks.