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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted
doi: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.16.0794    [Accepted]
Exterior egg quality as affected by enrichment resources layout in furnished laying-hen cages
Xiang Li, Donghua Chen, Fanyu Meng, Yingying Su, Lisha Wang, Runxiang Zhang, Jianhong Li1, Jun Bao*
College of Animal Science and Technology,Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, China
1College of Life Science, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, China
* Corresponding Author: Jun Bao ,Tel: 0086-451-55190099, Fax: 0086-451-55190366, Email: jbao@neau.edu.cn
Received: October 13, 2016;  Revised: January 4, 2017.  Accepted: February 19, 2017.  Published online February 23, 2017.

ABSTRACT
Objective:
This study aimed to investigate the effects of enrichment resources (a perch, dustbath and nest) layout in furnished laying-hen cages (FC) on exterior quality of eggs.
Method:
One hundred and sixty-eight (168) Hy-Line Brown laying hens at 16 weeks of age were randomly distributed to four treatments: small furnished cages (SFC), medium furnished cages type I (MFC-I), medium furnished cages type II (MFC-II), and medium furnished cages type III (MFC-III). Each treatment had 4 replicates or cages with 6 hens for SFC (24 birds for each SFC) and 12 hen/cage for MFC-I, -II, and –III (48 birds for each MFC-I, -II and -III). Following a 2-week acclimation, data collection started at 18 weeks of age and continued till 52 weeks of age. Dirtiness of egg surface or cracked shell as indicators of the exterior egg quality were recorded each week.
Results:
The results showed that the proportion of cracked or dirty eggs was significantly affected by the FC type (P<0.01) in that the highest proportion of cracked or dirty eggs was found in MFC-I and the lowest proportion of dirty eggs in SFC. The results of this showed that furnished cage types affected both dirty eggs and cracked eggs (P<0.01). The results also indicated that not nest but dustbath did lead to both more dirty eggs. Only MFC-I had higher dirty eggs at nest than other FC (P<0.01). The results of dirty eggs in MFC-I and MFC-II compared with SFC and MFC-III seemed suggest that low position of dustbath was the reason led to high dirty eggs.
Conclusion:
SFC design affected exterior egg quality and the low position of dustbath in FC resulted in higher proportion of dirty eggs.
Keywords: Furnished Cage; Cage Design; Exterior Egg Quality; Laying Hen
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