Layer breeding programmes in changing production environments: a historic perspective

  title={Layer breeding programmes in changing production environments: a historic perspective},
  author={Ferry Leenstra and Jan ten Napel and Jeroen Visscher and F van Sambeek},
  journal={World's Poultry Science Journal},
  pages={21 - 36}
The housing and management of laying hens and their productivity has gone through enormous developments in the last century. Housing has changed from free-range systems, via battery cages to a variety of loose housing and different types of battery cages, and back to outdoor access systems. Although battery cages are still the main system used worldwide, the number of hens housed in aviaries and free-range systems has increased in Europe, Australasia and some parts of the USA, but aviaries and… 


Data obtained by us regarding survival rate of laying hens flocks show the fact that this one is clearly influenced by the utilised rearing system, but it is also the dependence of some perturbation factors which could be eliminated by adaptation of some adequate measures.

Advances in genetic selection and breeder practice improve commercial layer hen welfare

The present paper reviews the modern approaches to genetic selection, including considerations of and benefits to the welfare state of commercial layers, as well as providing the primary breeding companies with improved and broader basis of selection of the modern commercial layer breeds.

Performance and cost-benefit analysis of Isa Brown layers on different management systems

It was concluded that free range management system resulted into better profit margin and could however be adopted by small scale farmers in rural areas willing to practice backyard poultry farming.

Improving feed efficiency in fish using selective breeding: a review

Past work to improve feed efficiency in fish using selective breeding is reviewed, indirect selection criteria that could be used to improve FE (including growth after starvation/refeeding, body composition, neuropeptides or hormone levels) are discussed and promising approaches to measuring feed intake accurately are identified.


The findings of these studies could help producers interested in raising slowgrowing meat-type chickens and heritage breeds create accurate business plans and determine if they can profitably produce meat and/or eggs for niche markets.

Albumen Quality of Fresh and Stored Table Eggs: Hen Genotype as a Further Chance for Consumer Choice

  • C. Rizzi
  • Medicine
    Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
  • 2021
Egg production and quality of the eggshell and albumen in fresh and stored eggs of two Italian dual-purpose purebreds and two hybrid genotypes reared outdoors were compared and RM showed a quite stable albumen quality and a lower total egg mass than ER which showed a more variable albumenquality, due also to a lower eggshell thickness and shape index.

Effect of diet nutrients density on performance and egg quality of laying hens during the post-peak production phase of the first laying cycle under subtropical climate

Abstract An experiment was done to evaluate the effects of diet nutrients density on performance and egg quality in laying hens during the post-peak production phase of the first laying cycle under

Genotypic and Dietary Effects on Egg Quality of Local Chicken Breeds and Their Crosses Fed with Faba Beans

The effect of faba beans as a substitute for soybeans in the diet of chickens originating from traditional low-performance breeds in comparison with high-performing laying type hens and their crosses on egg quality parameters was evaluated.

The effect of feed structure on gastrointestinal tract traits and performance in laying hens: an overview of 70 years’ experience

The following review provides an overview of data from seven decades regarding the implications of feed structure on the physiology, histology, metabolism and development of the gut and the performance of egg-laying chickens.



Genetic analysis of production, immunity and behaviour in laying hens.

In Chapters 2 and 3 of this thesis it is described how to use pooled records for the estimation of heritability and breeding values, and how to estimate genetic and phenotypic correlations from pooled data.

Laying hen performance in different production systems; why do they differ and how to close the gap? Results of discussions with groups of farmers in The Netherlands, Switzerland and France, benchmarking and model calculations

Free range and organic systems expose the laying hen more to unexpected events and adverse climatic conditions than barn and cage systems. In France, The Netherlands and Switzerland the requirements

Production performance and egg quality of four strains of laying hens kept in conventional cages and floor pens.

This study suggests that genotype x environment interactions should be considered when alternative housing systems are proposed, and significant strain differences were found for the use of nest-boxes, with a high percentage of floor eggs for brown egg strains.

Minimizing losses in poultry breeding and production: how breeding companies contribute to poultry welfare

Current focus is on components of liveability which are directly or indirectly linked to poultry welfare: selection against feather pecking and cannibalism in egg-type chickens and selection against leg disorders and heart/lung dysfunction in rapidly growing meat poultry.

Hen welfare in different housing systems.

It appears that no single housing system is ideal from a hen welfare perspective and any attempt to evaluate the sustainability of a switch to an alternative housing system requires careful consideration of the merits and shortcomings of each housing system.

Performance of commercial laying hen genotypes on free range and organic farms in Switzerland, France and The Netherlands

The overall effect of system on egg production and mortality was significant, with higher mortality and lower egg production among organic hens and conventional hens, and in pair wise comparisons within country, the difference was highly significant in The Netherlands and showed a non-significant tendency in the same direction in Switzerland.

New phenotypes for new breeding goals in layers

The laying performance tested with the Funnel Nest Box (FNB) show differences to the recorded egg number of full sibs which have been tested in cages, andabled genetic parameters showed low correlations for the egg number at peak production which could be explained by genotype x environment effects.

Feeding layers of different genotypes in organic feed environments

D diets low in methionine content influenced predominantly plumage condition and egg weight, although production of eggs by number was unaffected, and the SH hen adapted well to organic conditions, as did the Hyline genotype.

Genetic analysis of feather pecking behavior in laying hens

The QTL for severe FP and gentle FP offer the possibility to identify genetic markers for FP behavior, which may be used in genetic improvement programs, as well as for receiving pecks and open-field behavior.