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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #339636

Research Project: Evaluation of Management of Laying Hens and Housing Systems to Control Salmonella and Other Pathogenic Infections, Egg Contamination, and Product Quality

Location: ESQRU

Title: Evaluation of commercial cage-free barn egg quality during early production.

item Garcia, Javier
item Jones, Deana
item Gast, Richard
item HARSHAVARDHAN, THIPPAREDDI - University Of Georgia
item ANDERSON, KENNETH - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2017
Publication Date: 7/17/2017
Citation: Ward, G.E., Jones, D.R., Gast, R.K., Harshavardhan, T., Anderson, K. 2017. Evaluation of commercial cage-free barn egg quality during early production. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 96:26.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The focus of this study was to observe physical egg quality changes of six different strains of laying hens (Hy-line Brown, Hy-line W-80, Novogen Brown, Novogen White, ISA Brown, and Dekalb White commercial layers) during early lay in cage-free barn housing. Eggs were collected and evaluated for egg quality weekly from hen age 19 - 25 wk. Each strain of the laying hens had a bird population of 60 hens per 7.43 m2 pen with a stocking density of 0.121 m2. Pullets were reared within the cage-free barn system in accordance to the North Carolina Layer Performance and Management Test. Egg quality (egg weight, Haugh unit, yolk height, yolk width, yolk index, egg length, egg width, percent length at maximum width, shape index, and volume of shell) was evaluated. The hen’s egg displayed a rapid increase of egg weight from 19 wk (43.3 g) until 23 – 25 wks, where egg weight leveled at 54.7 g (P < 0.0001). Conversely, Haugh unit scores were the highest at 19 wk (96.9) and rapidly declined to a plateau between 24 – 25 wk with an average score of 90.7 (P < 0.001). Yolk height experienced little change over the course of the study whereas yolk width increased from 33.9 mm at 19 wk to 37.3 mm at 24 wk (P < 0.0001). Yolk index was higher at 19 wk (57.6) and steadily decreased to a plateau at 23 – 25 wk (53.5; P < 0.0001). The overall length of the shell ncreased from 50.0 mm 19 wk to 54.2 mm at 25 wk (P < 0.0001). The percent length at maximum width decreased with hen age from 55.6% (19 wk) to 54.9% (25 wk; P < 0.05). Shell volume increased from 19 wk (39.7mL) to 25 wk (50.9mL; P < 0.0001). Across the physical quality parameters monitored, the most consistent results were detected between 23 – 25 wk hen age.