ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


Hens: Free-choice feeding of layers

Ciszuk , Paul1; Charpentier, L.2 .

1) Dept. Animal Nutrition and Management ,Swedish Univ. Agric. Sci., Kungsaengen Res. Center ,S-753 23 Uppsala , 2) Kasby gd, S-741 93 Knivsta.

Trials were performed at Ekhaga experimental farm for three years. Layers were offered a basal menue comprising whole wheat, whole oats, fishmeal or meat scrap, oyster shells and salt with trace elements ad lib. Plenty of grass pasture was available in summer and hay, white cabbage or swedes were fed in wintertime. Barley, yellow peas and all-mash feed were tested periodically. Consumption of the different feedstuffs and egg-production was recorded in consecutive periods of two or four weeks. Animals used were 120 Lohman Selected Leghorn (LSL), 105 LSLx Sk. Blommehoens, 120 Leghorn x Rhode Island Red ( Svenska Hoenan ) and some groups of Sk. Blommehöns, ISA-Brown and Derco. Sk. Blommehöns is an old Swedish land-race. The hens were kept in groups of 25-40 with around four animals per squaremeter floor. Although not yet fully evaluated the results indicate: - High intake of wheat, 50-75 % of the total feed, - Reasonable consumption of fishmeal or meat scrap with respect to the requirement for methionine, -Rather low intake of crushed peas, 5-10 %, - Differences in feed-choice between breeds, - Normal egg-production with respect to breed, - Feed consumption per kg egg around 3 kg with large difference between summer and winter, - Good quality of egg-shells but rather high fregency of deformities of breast bones in the LSL-hen,- Too high frequency of salpingitis among the high producers probably much due to cold indoor climate in the winter, - Plumage in very good condition,- No cannibalism except for one incident because of certain conditions.
Free-choice feeding appears to bee a system of great interest especially if egg-production as in organic farming should be based on home-grown feedstuffs. The hens can express more of their natural foraging activity, also in wintertime, and the feed cost will be much lowered.

Ciszuk, P. & Charpentier, L. (1996): Fritt foderval för vaerphoens. Konf.Ekologiskt Lantbruk 7-8 november 1995, Ekologiskt Lantbruk, nr. 20, Dept.Crop Production Sci., Swedish Univ. Agric. Sci., Uppsala. p. 127-134

Salatin, J. (1993) : Pastured Poultry Profits. Poly face Inc., Swoope Virg.USA
Tauson, R., Jansson, L. & Elwinger, K. (1991). Whole grain/crushed peas andconcentrate in mechanised choice feeding for caged laying hens. Acta Agric.Scand. vol 41, p. 75-83