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Egg laying pattern of hens in a modified aviary system

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-086)
Authors:   Xuanyang Li, Liu Yang, Xiaocui Wang, Zhengxiang Shi, Baoming Li, Qin Tong
Keywords:   Aviary system, animal welfare, egg laying, light intensity, nest preference

Abstract. In commercial aviary system, low rate of nest use by laying hens is a major problem. Little was known about the factors influencing laying hens preference and nest acceptance. In this study, the effects of nest location and light condition on the distribution pattern of laying eggs were investigated. A total number of 1260 commercial hybrid White Leghorn layers (Yukou Jing Pink I layers) were kept in a large colony aviary unit (LCAU) system. Nests were installed into the top tier of the LCAU and eggs laid in each nest were record at the week of 55 over 3 consecutive days to investigate the nest preference of chicken. The results showed that there was significant effect of the location of nest (P < 0.01) on the position of eggs laid. The distribution pattern resulted in incidents of overcrowding, particularly the nests at the corner in the upper tier. This finding indicated that hens had preference to lay on different nests in aviary system, although it was symmetrical and the nests were identical. Furthermore, the different nest preferences of laying hens may be due to the light environment. Specific about the location and other design of nests should be considered to ensure a good match to the need of hen‘s natural behavior and improve animal welfare.

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