Effects of cage type on performance, welfare, and microbiological properties of laying hens during the molting period and the second production cycle
Onbaşılar, Esin Ebru
Güngör, Ö. F.
Erbay Elibol, Fatma Kübra
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As most of the unenriched cages will soon switch to enriched cages, it is important to characterize all the effects in the laying hens for sustainable production. Laying hens can be used in several production periods by applying molting. The aim of this study was to determine the cage type (unenriched and enriched) on performance, welfare, and microbiological properties of laying hens during the molting period and the second production cycle. Overall, 840 brown laying hybrids were used in the experiment. Laying hens were reared on two different cage types (unenriched cage (UEC) and enriched cage (EC)) in the same poultry house. When the hybrids were 75 weeks old, they were subjected to force molting with whole grain barley. Performance, welfare, microbiological, and serological data of laying hens were obtained from 73 to 107 weeks of age. Egg production, egg weight, feed conversion ratio, breaking strength, albumen and yolk index, Haugh unit, feather condition, and breaking force of femur and metatarsus were better in the post-molting period. However, keel bone deformities and Newcastle disease virus antibody titers are the worst in the post-molting period. Stiffness of femur and metatarsus was increased with period. These results indicate that necessary precautions should be taken against the problems that may occur in the direction of bone and health. During the molting period, hens kept in EC had lower egg production but they returned to egg production at a high rate. EC type had a positive effect on egg production, feed conversion ratio, feather and foot condition, and breaking force of metatarsus.