homemade feed, egg production, cage-free system
Objective: To evaluate two types of concentrate (homemade and commercial), in laying percentage (LP, %), weight (EW, g), and egg mass (EM, g bird-1 d-1), among hens in a cage-free system.
Methodology: Sixty hens aged 37 weeks (Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock) were assigned two treatments: COM, 150 g of commercial concentrate bird-1 d-1and CAS, 150 g of homemade concentrate bird-1 d-1. The birds were managed in a cage-free system with access to a meadow of white clover (Trifolium repens L.). LP, EW and EM were evaluated for 11 weeks.
Results: LP was different between treatments (P<0.05) in the last four weeks of observation. In this time, the COM birds laid 17 to 24% more than CAS birds. The EW produced by birds from the COM group (59.1 to 60.7 g) was greater (P<0.05) than that of the CAS birds (55.0 to 57.0 g). In the second half of the study period, a lower EM (P<0.05) was observed in the CAS treatment (24.7 to 31.8 g bird-1 d-1) compared to the COM treatment (39.7 to. 41.8 bird-1 d-1).
Study Implications: The results obtained are only valid for the types of concentrate evaluated and under the specified experimental conditions.
Conclusions: The homemade concentrate reduces the productive performance of hens in a cage-free system in terms of LP, EW, and EM, when compared to the commercial concentrate.