The Influence of Stocking Density on Body Weight, Egg Weight, and Feed Intake of Adult Broiler Breeder Hens

By B. J. Mtileni, K. A. Nephawe, Livestock Business Division, Agricultrual Research Council, South Africa; A. E. Nesamvuni, Department of Agriculture and K. Benyi, University of Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa. Published in Poultry Science, Volume 86, Issue 8, August 2007 edition.
calendar icon 28 August 2007
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The influence of stocking density on BW, egg weight (EW), and feed intake (FI) in Ross broiler breeder hens (n = 120) was investigated during the late medium egg production period (from 50 to 54 wk of age). Birds were randomly allocated to 6 pens in densities of 15, 20, and 25 birds/pen, giving rise to a floor space allowance of 5, 6.67, and 8.33 birds/m2, respectively.

Each density was replicated twice, and the order among the 6 pens was chosen at random. Data were analyzed using the repeated measures techniques of the Statistical Analysis System, considering the covariance structure of the observed data.

There was a significant effect attributable to stocking density, time (in days), and their interaction for BW, EW, and FI. Birds in density of 6.67 per m2 were lighter but had heavier eggs than birds in density of 5 per m2; however, birds in density of 8.33 per m2 had similar BW and EW with birds in the other 2 groups.

The mean FI were statistically different among the 3 groups, with a reduction in FI as density increases. Total egg production within the 3 density groups and average egg production per bird were also analyzed using categorical data techniques. The results indicated that stocking density influenced egg production, with birds at higher density producing fewer eggs per bird. Although generous floor space allowances were allocated per bird in this experiment, stocking density influenced the performance of broiler breeder hens.

August 2007
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