Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 18

18 ❙ FeedStrategy

8

considerations for cage-free
laying hen nutrition

Egg producers must account for more than just housing when
changing production practices
ZOE KAY

T

he cage-free layer is
subject to less controlled
conditions and - particularly in the case of freerange - is exposed to a variety
of weather conditions. Energy
levels in the diet will therefore
be a key consideration to make
sure nutrients are not diverted
from egg production. Similarly,
any increase in hen feed intake
needs to be balanced with protein levels to avoid unwanted
increases in egg size.
Outside of a cage, hens are
in greater contact with their
feces and, if allowed outside,
the number of disease challenges can increase. This creates a need for increased gut
health and immune support.
With any cage-free system,
there is greater opportunity for
bird interaction, which can lead
to an increase in vices; therefore, fiber provision is a key
consideration.
This article explores several
feeding and production practices
to enhance the health and performance of a cage-free flock.

Cage-free considerations
Beyond the housing investments, cage-free layers require
alterations to their feeding programs. Here are eight considerations producers and nutritionists
need to keep in mind:

1

Energy balance

For the reasons above,
the energy requirements of cage-free
layers are greater than those kept
in cages. Laying hens can compensate for this by eating more
to achieve the energy level they
need for maintenance and egg
production. The level of this increase depends on housing system
and country of production and
can vary by as much as 30 to 40
grams per bird per day between
summer and winter.

2

Controlling
egg size

Knowing what egg
sizes your market
requires and trying to meet it
is paramount for all producers.
However, in the case of cage-

CAGE-FREE
HENS FACE
GREATER disease
challenges, so
producers must
emphasize gut
health and immune
system support.
free layers, it can be harder to
achieve. Higher feed intakes
mean hens are consuming more
protein, which will increase egg
size. Therefore, protein, amino
acid and energy levels need to be
carefully balanced.
Hen body weight also influences egg size. Up to peak lay, it
is important to regularly weigh
them to know if they are meeting breed targets. The nutritional
density of the diet fed can then
be increased or decreased accordingly. Similarly, to control
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Feed Strategy - March 2018

Feed Strategy - March 2018
Contents
In the Mix
Industry Happenings
2018 Poultry Nutrition & Feed Survey: Poultry feed formulations driven by consumers, market
8 considerations for cage-free laying hen nutrition
6 basic feed ingredients in antibiotic-free piglet diets
How feed processing equipment mitigates pathogens, toxins
Feeding broilers a Mediterranean diet
Low-fat distillers grains reduce milk fat depression
Products
Marketplace
Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - CT1
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - CT2
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Feed Strategy - March 2018
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Cover2
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - CT3
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - CT4
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Contents
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - In the Mix
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 3
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Industry Happenings
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 5
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 2018 Poultry Nutrition & Feed Survey: Poultry feed formulations driven by consumers, market
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 7
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 8
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 9
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 10
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 11
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 12
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 13
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 14
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 15
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 16
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 17
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 8 considerations for cage-free laying hen nutrition
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 19
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 20
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 21
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 22
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 23
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 24
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 25
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 6 basic feed ingredients in antibiotic-free piglet diets
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 27
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 28
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 29
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 30
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 31
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - How feed processing equipment mitigates pathogens, toxins
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 33
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 34
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 35
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 36
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 37
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Feeding broilers a Mediterranean diet
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 39
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 40
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 41
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 42
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 43
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 44
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 45
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Low-fat distillers grains reduce milk fat depression
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 47
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 48
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 49
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Products
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - 51
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Advertisers’ Index
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Cover3
Feed Strategy - March 2018 - Cover4
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