Effects of housing systems on keel bone damage and egg quality of laying ‎‎hens

Document Type : Original Article


1 Veterinary Research Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organization Demeter, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia


The aim of this study was to investigate whether keel bone damage is prevalent in laying hens in Greece. The study was conducted in three industrial farms using different housing systems: (a) enriched cages, (b) floor system, and (c) free-range system. One hundred hens per housing system, randomly selected, were evaluated for keel bone damages with the method of palpation. Complementarily, thirty eggs from each farm were selected for the measurement of egg weight, shape index, shell cleanness, shell color, shell breaking force, shell thickness, shell weight, egg yolk color, albumen height, and Haugh unit. The presence of keel bone damage was evident in all housing systems with the significantly highest occurrence being observed in the free-range system (50.00%), followed by enriched cages (24.00%) and floor system (7.00%). Eggs from all three systems had significant differences in all estimated egg quality parameters apart from shell color and Haugh unit.


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