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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #306257

Research Project: Safeguarding Well-being of Food Producing Animals

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Design and performance of cooled perches for alternative egg laying production systems

item Gates, R
item Enneking, S
item Xiong, Y
item Hester, P
item Makagon, M
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2014
Publication Date: 7/13/2014
Citation: Gates, R.S., Enneking, S.A., Xiong, Y., Hester, P.Y., Makagon, M.M., Cheng, H. 2014. Design and performance of cooled perches for alternative egg laying production systems. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. 14-1901235.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Heat stress in both mechanically and naturally ventilated egg production facilities is a problem for the egg industry. Various means of providing supplemental cooling to hens in facilities are available, including tunnel ventilation to increase convective losses and evaporative cooling from either pads or from misting (lower pressure) or fogging (higher pressure) systems. Evaporative cooling efficiency can be seriously compromised by the challenge of providing cooled air to the birds when in cages and by the development of an axial building temperature gradient as heat loss by birds raises the air temperature. Alternative cooling approaches have included direct wetting of bird surface, and cooled perches have been investigated for broiler chickens and broiler breeders. The provision of a cooled perch in which chilled water is circulated through a conventional galvanized pipe passing through the laying hen cage offers the potential for improved performance during both acute and chronic heat stress events, is amenable to both natural and mechanically ventilated systems, and provides a positive welfare aspect by providing birds with a means to express their natural perching behavior. Challenges with the design and implementation of the system include capital cost and the lack of research data on bird production performance and behavior changes. This paper describes a novel system for testing the feasibility of thermally cooled perches for laying hens.