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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343317

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: The effects of housing systems for laying hens on egg safety and quality

item Jones, Deana

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2017
Publication Date: 5/1/2017
Citation: Jones, D.R. 2017. The effects of housing systems for laying hens on egg safety and quality. In Achieving Sustainable Production of eggs: Volume 1: Safety and Quality, J. Roberts, Ed. Burleigh Dodds, Cambridge, UK. p.195-210.

Interpretive Summary: Egg producers, equipment manufacturers, and regulatory entities are working diligently to keep up with the rapid demand for less intensive hen housing systems. The scientific community continues to generate research findings on the impact of hen housing on not only the laying hens, but egg safety and quality. As producers have shifted to less intensive housing systems, concerns of maintaining egg quality and controlling costs have been noted. While efforts to assist with the transition and develop management strategies continue, often producers are making the best management decisions they can and learning through the process. The first flocks in new housing systems present unique challenges as producers learn to manage and understand the new equipment and hen needs. The inconsistency in egg production and quality can also be seen in the research setting as institutions adjust to the same nuisances. As such, current research on egg safety and quality associated with hen housing systems often conflicts with initial published findings.

Technical Abstract: Transitions in laying hen management and housing systems have constantly occurred throughout the history of commercial egg production. Around the world, there has been a rapid shift in hen housing requirements since the turn of the current century. In most cases, the changes in hen housing requirements have been due primarily to human social influence with consideration for hen well-being and industry sustainability. While consumers often agree with the social concept of housing system shifts, they do not feel the price difference compared to conventional housed eggs is warranted since quality is not noticeably greater.