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Laying Performance of Pearl Gray Guinea Fowl Hens as Affected by Caging Density
- Nahashon, S.N., Adefope, N.A., Amenyenu, A., Wright, D.
- Poultry science 2006 v.85 no.9 pp. 1682-1689
- egg weight, guineafowl, stocking rate, egg production, laying performance, feed conversion
- The caging density required for optimal egg production by various avian species and varieties is highly variable. Even so, little is known of the required cage density for optimum performance of the laying guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). The objective of this study was to assess the effect of varying cage densities on production performance of pearl gray guinea fowl laying hens. In 3 replicates, 270 pearl gray guinea hens [28 wk of age (WOA)] were weighed individually and randomly assigned to laying cages at densities of 1, 2, and 3 birds/cage, equivalent to 1,394, 697, and 465 cm2/bird, respectively. During the experiment, all birds received a 16-h lighting regimen and were fed the same diet, comprising 2,800 kcal of ME/kg of diet and 16% CP (28 to 59 WOA) and 2,800 kcal of ME/kg of diet and 14% CP (60 to 76 WOA). Feed and water were provided for ad libitum consumption. Experimental birds were observed for feed consumption (FC), hen-day egg production (HDEP), egg weight, egg mass (EM), feed conversion ratio, internal egg quality, and shell thickness at the end of each 28-d lay period for 11 consecutive periods. Mean FC and HDEP decreased significantly with increases in cage density, such that 1,394 > 697 > 465 cm2/bird. Mean EM was also higher (P < 0.05) for birds reared in cages at 1,394 cm2/bird than those reared in cages at 697 and 465 cm2/bird (24.8, 17.4, and 14 g/hen per d, respectively). Feed conversion, HDEP, and EM were negatively correlated with cage density (P < 0.05). Mean feed conversion ratio and percentage of mortality were also lower in birds reared in cages at 1,394 cm2/bird than in other treatment groups. Therefore, laying guinea fowl hens exhibited superior performance when raised at a density of 1 bird/cage (1,394 cm2/bird) than those reared at densities of 2 and 3 birds/cage (697 and 465 cm2/bird, respectively).