Effect of housing environment on laying hen meat quality: Assessing Pectoralis major pH, colour and tenderness in three strains of 80-81 week-old layers housed in conventional and furnished cages.
To determine the effects of age, sex and housing on trabecular bone volume, samples were collected from groups of male and female domestic fowl housed in cages or floor pens from four to 60 weeks old. Between 25 and 60 weeks old, trabecular bone volume decreased by 25 per cent in sections of free thoracic vertebrae (T5) from female birds, the loss occurring at an earlier age in caged birds. Over the sample period, TBV in male caged birds diminished by 35 percent, but male floor birds showed no reduction in trabecular bone volume. At 60 weeks, trabecular bone volume was 30 per cent greater in male caged birds and 40 per cent greater in male floor birds than in the corresponding females. In reproductively active females, no trabecular osteoid was observed, indicating no new trabecular bone formation. However, trabecular osteoid was present in two birds aged 60 weeks which had regressed ovaries. Osteomalacia was not seen in any of the bone samples.