Egg production and welfare of laying hens kept in different housing systems (conventional, enriched cage, and free range)

Dikmen B. Y. , Ipek A., Sahan U., Petek M., Sozcu A.

POULTRY SCIENCE, cilt.95, ss.1564-1572, 2016 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)

  • Cilt numarası: 95 Konu: 7
  • Basım Tarihi: 2016
  • Doi Numarası: 10.3382/ps/pew082
  • Sayfa Sayısı: ss.1564-1572


The aim of this study was to compare egg production performance and welfare traits of laying hens kept in conventional cage (CC), enriched cage (EC), and free range (FR). Lohmann Brown laying hens (n = 480 with 160 per housing type) were studied across a production cycle from placement at 17 wk until depopulation at 66 wk. The hens were randomly allocated into cages or pens of housing system groups; within each system there were four replicates with 40 hens in each pen or cage. The hen day egg production (P = 0.037), feed intake (FI) (P < 0.001), egg mass (EM) (P < 0.001), and dirty egg ratio of hens were higher in the FR system but similar in the CC and EC systems. The highest mortality ratio was found in EC system hens (P = 0.020). The best feather score was found in FR system hens (P < 0.001). The worse body wound score was found in EC system hens (P = 0.038). On the other hand, the worse bumble foot and footpad lesions were found in FR system hens (P < 0.001). The highest tibia breaking strength was found in FR system hens compared with in CC and EC system hens (P < 0.001). The highest Heterophil/Lymphocyte (H/L) ratio was found in CC system hens (P = 0.006) but the blood phosphorus (P) level was higher in FR system hens (P = 0.013). The tonic immobility, blood glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, and Ca values of hens were found to be similar in all systems (P > 0.05). The hens in the FR system had additional space for optimum comfort and better feather and bone traits, but the dirty egg ratio, feed consumption, and foot lesions were higher than in CC and EC systems.