Egg Industry - May 2019 - 6

6 ❙ EggIndustry
7 CAGE-FREE LAYER NUTRITION ISSUES
changes from one hybrid to another, no matter how similar
body weight and egg-laying performance might appear on
the genetic supplier's literature.

2

Extra activity is always associated with heavier
musculature, and this requires protein for its
buildup and maintenance. Although this requirement is expected to be minimal and spread over a long period
of time, it cannot be insignificant in animals that are fed on
a limited ration. The energy-to-protein (amino acids) ratio
might require slight adjustment, but this aspect remains to be
further quantified. A sudden drop in egg weight, however, or
an inability to match bird age with expected egg weight is a
good indication that more protein is required.

3

Wastage

Feed in battery cages was rarely wasted, but this
might not always be the case in cage-free systems,
especially when housing density and feeder space
allowance create competitive behavior patterns. It is also
possible that feed may be wasted due to insufficient feeder
design and/or operation, especially when a house is first
converted to a cage-free system. Keeping a close eye on hens
during feeding time will reveal how much feed is wasted and
the reason such activity happens, leading hopefully to the
resolution of a profit-robbing issue.

4

Egg weight variation

All this new physical activity, and its associated
increased social interaction and competition, may
lead to some hens receiving inadequate amounts
of feed. This is evidenced at its slightest form by an increased
variation in egg weight, to be followed by a significant drop
in egg numbers - always as expected against bird weight
and age. If this happens, and population density cannot be
altered, then the only remedy is to increase feed allowance
or nutrient density. Such a move will cause top-ranking birds
to become overweight, with all associated problems, but at
least it will temporarily resolve the laying of eggs of highly
disparate weights.

8 considerations for cage-free laying
hen nutrition: www.WATTAgNet.com/
articles/33430

5

Water over-consumption

Increased water intake in hens can be due to
reduced access to feed or an increased need for
water to excrete superfluous minerals in feed.
This would not be a great issue in caged hens, but when
layers are kept on deep bedding (straw or wood shavings),
this increases litter moisture, with several associated problems. These range from increased leg problems to dirty
eggs to increased colonies of coccidia. Extra activity associated with heat stress will certainly increase water needs,
and it is reasonable to expect increased water-related
issues during the hot season of the year. This is a difficult
issue to resolve, but from a nutritional point of view, it is
recommended to control ash (minerals), protein and fiber
in diets. Fiber, in particular, should be controlled in terms
of quantity but also quality as a different fiber profile can
significantly alter water balance patterns.

6

Coccidia

Here, experiences from the broiler industry
can be extremely useful. At the very least,
certain additives may keep overall gut
health and systemic immunity as high as possible.
Nevertheless, there is no single product that can control
coccidiosis as effectively as traditional coccidiostatic
drugs, and this is a problem we need to address rapidly.
In the meantime, a combination of preventive measures,
of which nutrition is but a small part, should be
employed to safeguard gut health.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ May 2019

Courtesy Potters Poultryaa

Protein


http://www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/33430 http://www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/33430 http://www.WATTAgNet.com

Egg Industry - May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Egg Industry - May 2019

Egg Industry - May 2019
7 cage-free layer nutrition issues that require attention
Feeding for success in cage-free egg production
Top Egg Company trends, statistics and predictions
Egg Industry - May 2019 - CT1
Egg Industry - May 2019 - CT2
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Egg Industry - May 2019
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Cover2
Egg Industry - May 2019 - CT3
Egg Industry - May 2019 - CT4
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 3
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 7 cage-free layer nutrition issues that require attention
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 5
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 6
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 7
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Feeding for success in cage-free egg production
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 9
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 10
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 11
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 12
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 13
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 14
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 15
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Top Egg Company trends, statistics and predictions
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 17
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 18
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 19
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 20
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 21
Egg Industry - May 2019 - 22
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Cover3
Egg Industry - May 2019 - Cover4
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