International Egg Commission

Established Since 1964

Site Navigaton


Section Navigation

Koelkebeck - 2006

Nonwithdrawal Molting Programs

In the commercial egg industry the management practice of using feed withdrawal to induce a flock to molt has been under extreme scrutiny. This is because animal rights groups have voiced their concern about using this practice. Thus, about 5 yr ago, the United Egg Producers (UEP) commissioned 5 universities to conduct experiments to develop alternative molting programs that used nonwithdrawal feeding programs to molt laying hens. The studies conducted to date used techniques ranging from feeding hens without added salt in the diet to using readily available, low-cost feed ingredients to develop molt diets that are low in energy level and protein content. The results of these studies indicated that molting laying hens without feed withdrawal could be done successfully. Research at the University of Illinois found that feeding laying hens diets consisting of wheat middlings, soybean hulls, and corn (low protein and low energy) were successful in providing for acceptable postmolt egg production performance and economic benefit compared with using a standard feed withdrawal method. Therefore, after 5 yr of experimenting with nonwithdrawal molting methods done in several university settings, the egg industry has successfully adopted these methods of molting laying hens. In addition, based on the finding of these experiments, the UEP has revised their recommended molting guidelines to state that only nonwithdrawal molting methods will be permitted after January 1, 2006. Thus, these guidelines will apply to approximately 82% of the US egg industry.

Download Summary


This item is only available to IEC members.

Login now

Join the IEC now!

PDF File
PDF File
95.75 KB
23 August 2010


To view this file you will need software capable of reading PDF files, such as the free Adobe Reader.