Deep Litter Or Battery Cage – Which Should You Use?
Here are some reasons why you should go for the battery cage system as a poultry farmer.
In commercial layers rearing, egg production is much higher in caged birds because movement of chickens is restricted allowing more feed conversion into egg materials.
This is the opposite of what is obtained in floor rearing where birds roam freely, burning considerable energy that should have been directed at producing eggs, resulting in a lower production.
Battery cage system denies chickens direct access to their faeces. This wholly translates to reduced risk of infection and medication costs, lowering the overall cost of production.
Whereas for floor birds who have direct access to their faeces, picking up their faeces with food as well as ammonia build up can constitute serious health risks.
In the battery cage system, the chickens have no contact with their eggs which will roll out of their reach unlike the deep litter where the chickens break some of the eggs resulting to loss of revenue
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Feed wastage is reduced to the minimum in battery cage system. Feeding and watering is also easier done when compared with what happens in the floor rearing system.
In deep litter system, feeding and watering is more stressful and even the birds soil the feed and water by soiling it with faeces, they may knock off drinkers leading to wet litter, an important predisposing factor to coccidiosis.
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Stock taking is much easier in a battery cage. Even if there are tens of thousands of broiler or layer birds on the farm, the owner or manager can easily count his birds. This exercise would be very difficult to carry out in deep litter system where they birds are moving about constantly.
Farm hands find it easier to steal from the flock in a deep litter system.Waste removal is easier in a poultry farm operating battery cage system.
Removing poultry litter in deep litter system involves complete removal of shaving, moving of birds etc whereas for caged bird, you just need to remove the layer of shaving spread under the cages every 2-3days. You can mix fossil shell with the birds’ feed to reduce odour or include larvacide to eliminate maggots (fly larva stage) on your farm.
This may however increase your total running costs.
Deep Litter Vs Cage System
Various trials have been carried out to compare the effects on egg production, egg quality and feed conversion using battery cage versus deep litter system models of management.
It has been discovered that these variables improved greatly in poultry cage rearing system as opposed to rearing on the floor.
However, you need economic survey to be able to ascertain the profitability and relevance of each rearing system to different in different climates