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USPOULTRY explores eggshell quality in cage-free layer flocks

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are now accepting research pre-proposals on improved eggshell quality in cage-free layer flocks through 1 November.

28 September 2021, at 9:14am

Eggshell quality is important for food safety and beneficial egg quality attributes. The US egg industry is moving to extensive cage-free housing systems to meet consumer and legislative demands.

Companies transitioning face numerous unknowns regarding housing systems, including how to ensure that eggshell quality is maintained. Eggshell quality is multifactorial, and the interactions between the housing system and factors known to affect shell quality are not well understood. Numerous questions exist regarding management and mitigation of eggs laid outside of the system, or so-called “floor eggs,” and best practices have not been identified for handling these eggs. Shell quality and production issues are a real concern, often resulting in severe financial loss.

The research areas of focus should identify methods and practices to reduce microfractures in shell eggs, develop improved methods for egg management aimed at improving shell integrity in cage-free systems, and evaluate nutrition and environmental programs to maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems.

The research should also answer the following questions:

  • What management methods can be utilized to minimize eggs laid outside of the system?
  • What novel management methods exist for handling eggs laid outside of the system?
  • Are there nutrition and environmental program manipulations that can maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems?

Visit the USPOULTRY research page and click on the “Board Research Initiatives” sub-header for complete instructions to submit a pre-proposal.