Effect of bird cage space and dietary metabolizable energy level on production parameters in laying hens

M. A. Jalal, S. E. Scheideler, D. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A study was conducted to assess the effects of varying cage spaces on a commercial laying hen strain fed differing levels of dietary metabolizable energy (ME) for 15 wk. Four cage space allowances (342, 413, 516, and 690 cm2/hen) were combined with 3 levels of dietary ME (2,800, 2,850, and 2,900 kcal of ME/kg) in a 4 x 3 factorial arrangement. Each treatment was assigned to 6 replicate cages for a total of 72 cages in randomized complete block design. Feed intake and metabolizable energy intake were significantly (P < 0.01) greater for hens housed at 690 cm2/hen compared with those housed at 413 and 342 cm2/hen, but not those housed at 516 cm 2/hen, across all dietary ME levels. Egg production and egg mass were significantly (P < 0.001) improved for hens housed at 690 cm2/ hen in contrast to other cage spaces and across all energy levels. There were no interaction effects of ME levels on laying hen performance at varying cage space except for body weight change. Hens housed at 516 cm2/ hen and fed 2,800 kcal of ME/kg exhibited the greatest weight change, which was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than those fed other levels of ME at the same cage space. Hens housed at 690 cm2/hen had significantly (P < 0.05) greater ME efficiency of egg production than hens housed at other cage spaces. Hens fed the diet with 2,900 kcal of ME/kg had significantly (P < 0.001) greater ME digestibility compared with those fed 2,800 or 2,580 kcal of ME/kg with differences of 107 and 118 kcal of ME/kg, respectively. There were no significant effects of ME levels observed except ME digestibility, and no significant effects of cage space allowance on egg weight, hen weight, bone ash, or maintenance energy intake. It is evident that decreasing the number of birds per cage and increasing cage space allowance per hen had an overall positive effect on performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-311
Number of pages6
JournalPoultry science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cage space
  • Laying hen
  • Metabolizable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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