Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303392

Title: Assessment of density in enriched colony cages: Egg quality

item Jones, Deana
item KARCHER, D - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/21/2014
Publication Date: 7/14/2014
Citation: Jones, D.R., Karcher, D.M. 2014. Assessment of density in enriched colony cages: Egg quality. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 93(1): 262.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Enriched colony cage production systems are becoming more prevalent in the US. A study was undertaken to determine the impact of housing density on hen health, well-being, egg production and quality. Six densities were examined with 8 housing replicates per density. Egg quality was assessed at hen ages 22, 35, 49, and 64 wks. Cracked eggs were removed and eggs were stored overnight at 5C before analysis. All egg quality measurements were completed the following day and monitored on a per egg basis, except for yolk color which was conducted on pools. A density*hen age (P < 0.05) interaction existed for shell dynamic stiffness. Static compression shell strength decreased with hen age (P < 0.05). Egg weight increased with hen age (52.91g, 22 wk; 61.63g, 64 wk; P < 0.05). There were differences in the rate of change in Haugh units amongst the treatments as hens aged (P < 0.05). Static compression vitelline membrane strength and elasticity were greatest at 22 wk (272.56g and 8.53mm, respectively) and lowest at 64 wk (125.58g and 6.68mm, respectively; P < 0.05). Shell thickness decreased as hens aged but at different rates for the six densities (P < 0.05). Hen age impacted all egg quality measurements monitored. Density and hen age impacted the rate of change in shell thickness, shell dynamic stiffness, and Haugh units. Currently, no clear recommendations can be made for enriched colony cage density and resulting egg quality.