Egg Industry - July 2018 - 14
14 ❙ EggIndustry
CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION CHALLENGES
tem so they can easily find feed.
Another aspect of the training
includes jumping: "You don't want
your birds using more energy trying to fly," he said.
Dimming of light allows
birds to get into the system better at nighttime.
aviary system can encourage
birds to move in a way that
works best for producer's individual systems.
Figuring out the best feeding
for your breed is important, too,
Eckard said. By managing feeding, producers can encourage
Disease and health
risk associated with
"Cumulative hen mortality
in an aviary system was approximately double that of caged
systems," said Dan Krouse, general manager, Midwest Poultry
Lighting in the aviary is used to move the birds
through the system and draw them to the
feed lines. It is also used under the system to
discourage floor eggs.
It is important to bring
birds to the layer site at the
right age, Eckard said. This allows them to adjust to the new
system without the pressure of
"When birds are trained
properly at the pullet site, the
transition is usually smooth;
within two to three days, birds
should be moving freely in
the system and off the floor at
night," said Eckard.
Light and feed are the key
factors in getting birds to move.
Understanding the changing
lights on different levels in an
layers to stay in the nest box at
certain times, thus decreasing
the chance of floor eggs.
"Once you get your birds
moving, it will become natural
to them, and you'll have less
floor eggs," Eckard said.
Movement also keeps dominant birds busy, reducing their
Each flock will give a different challenge. Being with the
birds and watching them is crucial, Eckard said.
"The birds will tell you when
things are right and when there
is an issue," he said.
Services, when referencing the
2015 Coalition for a Sustainable
Egg Supply study. With cagefree housing systems, air quality
can be poor, freedom of movement can contribute to injuries,
manure access is ideal for parasites, and feather and vent pecking increase, Krouse said.
Cannibalism and coccidiosis
are the top two health issues in
cage-free egg production, two issues that don't often show up in
caged houses, he said. In addition
to those issues, producers see
more keel bone injuries, feather
and vent pecking, piling, and
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ July 2018