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Type: Journal article
Title: Effect of production system and flock age on egg quality and total bacterial load in commercial laying hens
Author: Samiullah
Roberts, J.
Chousalkar, K.
Citation: Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 2014; 23(1):59-70
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1056-6171
Statement of
Samiullah, J. R. Roberts, and K. K. Chousalkar
Abstract: The shell of the egg is essential in providing shape to the egg and ensuring safe packaging of the internal contents; however, shell defects have been shown to increase the risk of microbial contamination of eggs. Eggs were collected from commercial cage and free-range flocks at the ages of 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 75 wk. From each collection per flock, 30 eggs were processed for the eggshell and egg internal quality determination, 30 eggs for cuticle estimation, 30 eggs for mammillary layer ultrastructural features scoring, and 60 eggs for egg microbial enumeration. Translucency score and shell reflectivity were significantly higher in free-range eggs and increased with flock age in both production systems. Egg weight, shell weight, percentage shell, shell thickness, albumen height, Haugh unit, and yolk color were higher for cage eggs. The amount of cuticle was higher in cage eggs and fluctuated with flock age in both production systems. For the mammillary layer ultrastructural variables, a significant effect of production system and flock age was observed for early fusion, Type A bodies, and Type B bodies, whereas aragonite, depression, erosion, and hole were rarely observed. Variability of mammillary cap size, the incidence of poor mammillary cap quality, incidence of late fusion, alignment, Type A bodies, Type B bodies, and cubic cone formation were greater in the free-range versus cage system and increased with flock age in both production systems. The incidence of confluence and early fusion were greater in cage eggs and decreased with age in both production systems. Significantly lower total microbial load was observed for cage compared with free-range eggs, but the overall bacterial load recorded in this study was low. It can be concluded that cage eggs were better in overall quality when directly compared with free-range eggs.
Keywords: conventional cage; free range; cuticle; shell mammillary layer; bacterial load; Enterobacteriaceae
Rights: ©2014 Poultry Science Association Inc.
RMID: 0030012985
DOI: 10.3382/japr.2013-00805
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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