Egg shell colour is affected by laying cage design
1. When laying hens are stressed some retain their eggs in the shell gland beyond the normal
time of laying and this can result in the deposition of extra-cuticular calcium which makes brown eggs appear paler.
2. Three different types of enriched modified cage were compared: the location where eggs were laid was recorded and shell colour was measured using a reflectometer.
3. In 2 types of cage with enclosed nest boxes more eggs (80%) were laid in the nests than in a design with nest hollows in the open part of the cage (41%).
4. The eggs from the cages with enclosed nests were darker (had less extraneous calcium) than those with open nest hollows. This implies that in the designs with nest boxes fewer eggs had been retained and the hens may have been less stressed.
5. The results support previous evidence that to reduce stress and improve welfare it is desirable to provide enclosed nest sites for caged laying hens.
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18 August 2010
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