Mash feed preparation is the widely practiced method of preparing and presenting feed to laying hens in the egg industry due to its economics, flexibility, and simplicity. However, this form of feed presents a wide range of particle sizes that are likely to segregate (i.e., large particles may separate from the small particles during feed delivery through either auger or drag-chain delivery systems). Two predominant segregation patterns were observed, including sieving and side-to-side segregation, during feed delivery. These segregation patterns promoted ingredient selection activities by the hens (mainly larger particles) that modified the nutrients in the feed and influenced the hens' ability to meet their daily nutrient requirements. This observation was quantified through a systematic study of the relationship of feed nutrients, feed particle size distribution, and hen performance, including BW and egg quality analysis. To minimize the feed segregation effect on hen performance and egg quality, 3 recommendations are proposed to improve feed fabrication and the feed delivery system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology