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Utilisation of Light Egg-type Males: Proposal for the Sustainability of the Egg Industry

24 March 2014

Poultry Science journal

Researchers in Brazil have successfully reared male chicks of brown and white Leghorn layer lines, testing four levels of dietary energy for each line. Neither mortality nor cannibalism were observed in this study.

This study from Brazil evaluated the performance and viability of light egg-type males, usually euthanised at the hatcheries, from White and Brown Leghorn laying hen lines.

It is reported by first-named author, A.G. Bertechini of Lavras Federal University, and co-authors there and Embrapa Swine and Poultry in the current issue of Poultry Science.

Day-old male chicks, half from each hen line, were raised in floor pens until they were 42 days of age. The birds were distributed into 48 floor pens, furnished with tube feeders and nipple drinkers, and submitted to 24 hours of continuous light, three feeding phases (days 1 to 7, 8 to 21 and 22 to 42) and diets composed of corn and soybean meal as the main ingredients.

A completely randomised design was used in a 4×2 factorial arrangement (phase levels of ME dietary treatments × strain) of six replicates of 40 birds each.

The variables evaluated were bird performance, carcass quality and yield at 42 days of age.

Mortality and cannibalism were not observed during the entire experimental period although the birds’ beaks were not trimmed.

The brown males line showed higher feed consumption and bodyweight gain and better feed conversion than the white male line (P<0.05).

Metabolisable energy (kcal per kg) levels of 3,200 (1 to 7 days), 3,050 (8 to 21 days) and 3,200 (22 to 42 days) provided better performance (P<0.05) in both lines.

Carcass yields were similar (P>0.05) for the two lines; males from the white line showed higher breast yield, and the brown line males showed higher yield of thighs and drumstick (P<0.05).

Treatments had no effect on meat quality (P>0.05).

Overall, the researchers conclude there is great viability for the use of male chicks from laying hens of both leghorn lines as a high-quality protein source for human consumption.


Bertechini A.G., H. Mazzuco, E.C. Rodrigues and E.M. Ramos. 2014. Study of the utilization of light egg-type males: A proposal for the sustainability of the egg industry. Poultry Science. 93(3):755-761. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03462

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March 2014

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