Contributing Factors to Floor Egg Issues
This report investigates the history and development of the poultry industry. It also investigates the incidences of increased floor eggs and several techniques to help alleviate the issues.
The history and the development of the industry are important to understand problems that arise in the modern-day industry. To keep birds out of contact with their own faecal matter to avoid disease outbreaks and contamination on eggs also led to the perfect system to avoid floor eggs. This system is battery cages and have their advantages. It also determines total eggs from a hen and if they are laying at all (Biomed Central, 2009). These systems have been outlawed in the European Union (EU) and are often frowned upon in other countries by increasingly concerned consumers. Barn laid or free range now give the hen an opportunity to lay eggs in problematic areas again.
Floor eggs are any eggs laid outside of the ideal nesting system that is provided. A floor egg has a severely increased chance of contamination and therefore a lower percentage of hatch. Floor eggs also must be collected at regular intervals by employees. If there is an abundance of floor eggs to labour, costs will increase, and overall hatchability will decrease.
As part of this research, the author visited several rearing, breeder and layer farms and it was clear to observe that management from day old to peak production is key. There are numerous different set-ups, equipment and manufacturers across the world. There are different genetics, scales and generations to add diversity to the industry. Nonetheless, with all these differences there are answers for each situation and many strategic elements are the same.
Birds need to be reared effectively with perching similar to the slats used in production housing. Rearing managers need to be observant, and weight/body condition uniformity is essential for collective light stimulation for hens. If the hens are all of similar stages of maturity, then encouraging them at the right time towards the nesting system is much simpler. Hens need to become familiar with the production shed prior to the laying period. Equipment and layout need to be taken into account, as well as ventilation. Floor egg percentages can be reduced with a holistic approach to the bird’s environment and management.
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