6 common cage-free egg production mistakes

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Cage-free hens inside an aviary system

Cage-free egg farming is difficult even for veteran farmers. Learn from others mistakes to make the transition smoother. | Austin Alonzo

Despite the best education and preparation, the transition to cage-free production is a complex and challenging process, even for veteran egg farmers. Husbandry experts were asked about what errors they’ve seen most often in the field, and steps farmers can take to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes.

Read the entire report about cage-free egg production mistakes exclusively in the October issue of Egg Industry.

The experts agreed the biggest potential pitfall is raising pullets in an environment that does not look exactly like where the hens will spend their adult lives. Another mistake in pullet rearing can take place shortly after releasing pullets into the litter area.

Another misstep is not properly managing the flock to prevent mislaid eggs. If a flock is consistently mislaying eggs throughout its life cycle, the profitability of the operation will be significantly reduced.

Some farmers are picking a breed of bird that isn’t primed for success in a cage-free environment, which can lead to more mislaid eggs, aggressive behavior and higher flock mortality.

A major error is expecting to fit a similar number of birds into a cage-free house as a conventional house.

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Austin Alonzo is editor of WATT PoultryUSA. To contact Alonzo, email aalonzo@wattglobal.com.

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