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Short-term effects on productivity and egg quality in nutrient-restricted versus non-restricted organic layers with access to different forage crops

Horsted, Klaus; Hammershøj, Marianne and Hermansen, John E. (2006) Short-term effects on productivity and egg quality in nutrient-restricted versus non-restricted organic layers with access to different forage crops. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A, 56, pp. 42-54.

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Summary

Two experiments were conducted to study the effects of different forage crops on productivity and some egg quality parameters of small flocks of organic laying hens fed whole wheat or concentrates. Each experiment was carried out in a split plot design with two different forage crops and two types of supplementary feed (typical concentrate for organic layers versus whole wheat) with three replications. In the first experiment the tested forage crops were of a well-established grass/clover and a mixture of forbs (Fagopyrum esculentum, Phacelia tanacetifolia and Linum usitatissimum). In the second experiment the tested forage crops were a well-established grass/clover and chicory (Cichorium intybus cv. Grassland Puna). The results on productivity and egg quality suggest that laying hens consume large amounts of foraging material when accessible. In nutrient restricted hens (wheat-fed) the forage may yield a substantial contribution to the requirements of amino acids and metabolizable energy although productivity parameters and measurements on dry matter in albumen showed that wheat-fed hens, on a short-term basis, were not able to fully compensate for the lack of protein and amino acids by increased foraging. Of the forage crops investigated especially chicory seems to contribute to the nutrition of the hens. Measurements on eggshell parameters showed that oyster shells together with foraging material were sufficient to meet the hens’ calcium requirements. Yolk colour clearly revealed that laying hens consume large quantities of green fodder irrespective of the type of supplementary feed. Yolk colour from hens with access to chicory tended to be darker, of a redder and less yellow hue compared with grass/clover fed hens, which is considered a positive quality.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Albumen, body weight, egg production, eggshell, feed intake, foraging, herbage, organic poultry, yolk colour
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Denmark > SOAR - Research School for Organic Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited By: Kirkegaard, Lene/LKI
ID Code:9132
Deposited On:30 Aug 2006
Last Modified:02 Apr 2013 08:54
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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