Nesting behaviour and floor egg incidence in broiler breeders: Effects of light type, nest-box illumination and feeding time

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Sheppard, Kimberly C.

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Broiler breeders sometimes lay eggs on the floor rather than in nest-boxes. Floor eggs cause unacceptable financial losses for producers. One explanation for floor eggs is that nest-boxes are too brightly illuminated. Another is that feeding nesting hens results in them leaving the nest-box, thereafter laying eggs on the floor. This thesis investigates the effects of shading nest-boxes from three light sources on subsequent nest-box usage, and whether feeding nesting hens results in more floor eggs. Hens in experiment 1 were assigned to one of three light treatments and given the choice of shaded or lit nest-boxes. Shaded nest-boxes were not used to a greater extent than lit, and there was no difference in floor eggs across light treatments. Hens in experiment 2 were fed while expressing advanced pre-laying behaviour. The majority of hens left the nest box to feed, but this did not result in higher floor egg numbers.

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Keywords

broiler breeders, nesting behaviour, floor egg incidence, nest-box illumination, feeding time

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