Rearing system affects prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens: a longitudinal study of four consecutive flocks

TM Casey-Trott, MT Guerin, V Sandilands, S Torrey, TM Widowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

High flock-level prevalence of keel-bone fractures and deviations in laying hens are commonly reported across various housing systems; however, few longitudinal studies exist, especially for furnished and conventional cage systems. Load-bearing exercise improves bone strength and mineral composition in laying hens and has the potential to reduce keel-bone damage, especially if exercise is allowed during critical periods of bone growth throughout the pullet rearing phase. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens housed in furnished and conventional cages, and assess whether opportunities for exercise during the pullet rearing phase influenced the prevalence of keel-bone damage throughout the laying period. Four flock replicates of 588 Lohmann Selected Leghorn-Lite pullets/flock were reared in either conventional cages (Conv) or an aviary rearing system (Avi) and placed into conventional cages (CC), 30-bird furnished cages (FC-S) or 60-bird furnished cages (FC-L) for adult housing. Keel-bone status was determined by palpation at 30, 50, and 70 wk of age. Age (P < 0.001) and rearing system (P < 0.001) had an effect on the presence of keel-bone fractures. The presence of fractures increased with age, and hens raised in the Avi system had a lower percentage of fractures (41.6% ± 2.8 SE) compared to hens reared in the Conv system (60.3% ± 2.9 SE). Adult housing system did not have an effect on the percentage of keel fractures (P = 0.223). Age had an effect on the presence of deviations (P < 0.001), with deviations increasing with age. Rearing system (P = 0.218) and adult housing system (P = 0.539) did not affect the presence of deviations. Keel fractures and deviations were strongly associated with each other at all ages: 30 wk: (P < 0.001); 50 wk: (P < 0.001); and 70 wk: (P < 0.001). Increased opportunities for exercise provided by an aviary rearing system reduced the prevalence of keel-bone fractures through the end-of-lay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2029 - 2039
Number of pages11
JournalPoultry Science
Volume96
Issue number7
Early online date21 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 21 Mar 2017

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keel bone
longitudinal studies
laying hens
flocks
rearing
cages
bone fractures
pullets
exercise
aviary birds
aviaries
hens
bone strength
mineral content
bones

Bibliographical note

1022212

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Keel bone
  • Laying hen
  • Pullet
  • Rearing system

Cite this

Casey-Trott, TM ; Guerin, MT ; Sandilands, V ; Torrey, S ; Widowski, TM. / Rearing system affects prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens: a longitudinal study of four consecutive flocks. In: Poultry Science. 2017 ; Vol. 96, No. 7. pp. 2029 - 2039.
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Rearing system affects prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens: a longitudinal study of four consecutive flocks. / Casey-Trott, TM; Guerin, MT; Sandilands, V; Torrey, S; Widowski, TM.

In: Poultry Science, Vol. 96, No. 7, 21.03.2017, p. 2029 - 2039.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rearing system affects prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens: a longitudinal study of four consecutive flocks

AU - Casey-Trott, TM

AU - Guerin, MT

AU - Sandilands, V

AU - Torrey, S

AU - Widowski, TM

N1 - 1022212

PY - 2017/3/21

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N2 - High flock-level prevalence of keel-bone fractures and deviations in laying hens are commonly reported across various housing systems; however, few longitudinal studies exist, especially for furnished and conventional cage systems. Load-bearing exercise improves bone strength and mineral composition in laying hens and has the potential to reduce keel-bone damage, especially if exercise is allowed during critical periods of bone growth throughout the pullet rearing phase. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens housed in furnished and conventional cages, and assess whether opportunities for exercise during the pullet rearing phase influenced the prevalence of keel-bone damage throughout the laying period. Four flock replicates of 588 Lohmann Selected Leghorn-Lite pullets/flock were reared in either conventional cages (Conv) or an aviary rearing system (Avi) and placed into conventional cages (CC), 30-bird furnished cages (FC-S) or 60-bird furnished cages (FC-L) for adult housing. Keel-bone status was determined by palpation at 30, 50, and 70 wk of age. Age (P < 0.001) and rearing system (P < 0.001) had an effect on the presence of keel-bone fractures. The presence of fractures increased with age, and hens raised in the Avi system had a lower percentage of fractures (41.6% ± 2.8 SE) compared to hens reared in the Conv system (60.3% ± 2.9 SE). Adult housing system did not have an effect on the percentage of keel fractures (P = 0.223). Age had an effect on the presence of deviations (P < 0.001), with deviations increasing with age. Rearing system (P = 0.218) and adult housing system (P = 0.539) did not affect the presence of deviations. Keel fractures and deviations were strongly associated with each other at all ages: 30 wk: (P < 0.001); 50 wk: (P < 0.001); and 70 wk: (P < 0.001). Increased opportunities for exercise provided by an aviary rearing system reduced the prevalence of keel-bone fractures through the end-of-lay.

AB - High flock-level prevalence of keel-bone fractures and deviations in laying hens are commonly reported across various housing systems; however, few longitudinal studies exist, especially for furnished and conventional cage systems. Load-bearing exercise improves bone strength and mineral composition in laying hens and has the potential to reduce keel-bone damage, especially if exercise is allowed during critical periods of bone growth throughout the pullet rearing phase. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of keel-bone damage in laying hens housed in furnished and conventional cages, and assess whether opportunities for exercise during the pullet rearing phase influenced the prevalence of keel-bone damage throughout the laying period. Four flock replicates of 588 Lohmann Selected Leghorn-Lite pullets/flock were reared in either conventional cages (Conv) or an aviary rearing system (Avi) and placed into conventional cages (CC), 30-bird furnished cages (FC-S) or 60-bird furnished cages (FC-L) for adult housing. Keel-bone status was determined by palpation at 30, 50, and 70 wk of age. Age (P < 0.001) and rearing system (P < 0.001) had an effect on the presence of keel-bone fractures. The presence of fractures increased with age, and hens raised in the Avi system had a lower percentage of fractures (41.6% ± 2.8 SE) compared to hens reared in the Conv system (60.3% ± 2.9 SE). Adult housing system did not have an effect on the percentage of keel fractures (P = 0.223). Age had an effect on the presence of deviations (P < 0.001), with deviations increasing with age. Rearing system (P = 0.218) and adult housing system (P = 0.539) did not affect the presence of deviations. Keel fractures and deviations were strongly associated with each other at all ages: 30 wk: (P < 0.001); 50 wk: (P < 0.001); and 70 wk: (P < 0.001). Increased opportunities for exercise provided by an aviary rearing system reduced the prevalence of keel-bone fractures through the end-of-lay.

KW - Exercise

KW - Keel bone

KW - Laying hen

KW - Pullet

KW - Rearing system

U2 - 10.3382/ps/pex026

DO - 10.3382/ps/pex026

M3 - Article

VL - 96

SP - 2029

EP - 2039

JO - Poultry Science

JF - Poultry Science

SN - 0032-5791

IS - 7

ER -