Effect of Age and Weight on Laying Performance and Egg Weight among Harco Hens
This study was designed to determine the effect of age and weight on laying performance and egg weight among Harco hens. Laying performance and egg weight were compared between three weight ranges of beak trimmed commercial Harco hens in conventional battery cages. Seventy two Harco hens, age 32 weeks were divided into three groups corresponding to 3 weight ranges; 1.35 – 1.59kg (WRI), 1.60 – 1.80kg (WR2) and 1.81 – 2.20 kg (WR3). The hens were fed a commercial layers ratio for three months (12 weeks) during which the average egg weight and hen day egg laying performance of each weight range was determined. The average monthly production of WR3 layers was 295 eggs per 24 layers, whereas, those in WR2 range and WR1 laid 283 and 232 eggs per 24 layers respectively. WR3 hens laid 63 eggs more than WR1 hens per month, while age significantly (P < 0.05) affected laying performance. The effect of body weight on laying performance was significantly different (P <0.05). The average weight of eggs laid by WR1, WR2 and WR3 hens were 53.20 – 60.4g, 53.50 – 64.6g and 56.5 – 63.2g. There were therefore, significant differences (P < 0.05) in weights of eggs laid by hens in three weight ranges. The results therefore, show that laying performance and egg size are positively affected by age and body weight in Harco breed.
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