Meat vs Egg Production

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  1. What industry (meat or eggs) are the following types of birds used for a) commercial layers b) broilers?
    • a) eggs 
    • b) meat
  2. Describe the structure of poultry breeding programmes
    Nucleus or elite stock --> grandparent stock --> broiler breeders/parent stock (2 way crossbreeds) --> broiler or commercial layers (4 way cross)
  3. List some selection characteristics for commercial layers
    • Good liveability and resistance to disease
    • Good feathering
    • Extended egg laying season
    • Docile temperament and absence of broodiness 
    • Slow growth rate and light mature weight
    • Efficient food conversion
  4. List some selection characteristics for broilers
    • Good liveability and resistance to disease
    • Good feathering
    • Rapid growth rate
    • Good leg health
    • Good food conversion ratio
    • Good conformation
    • Correct flesh colouring
  5. List the 5 key steps in the production of table eggs
    Layer parent stock produce eggs --> Fertile egg production --> Day old chicks are sexed and graded at hatchery --> Brooding and rearing period in cage or on floor --> production unit - cages, barn or free range.  Production of >300 unfertilised eggs (18-72 weeks)
  6. What happens to male day old chicks?
    They are killed at the hatchery
  7. What happens to egg production at 72 weeks?  And what happens to the hens?
    • Egg production falls at 72 weeks - hens produce less than 1 egg a day
    • It is more cost effective to cull the entire flock and replace it with 18 week old hens
  8. What are the 4 key steps in the production of broiler meat
    Broiler breeder laying farms (fertile egg production) --> hatchery  (day old chicks) --> grower farms 'broilers' --> culled and processed
  9. At what age are broiler chickens culled?
    <45 days
  10. At what age are turkeys for meat production culled?
    14-22 weeks
  11. How does the production systems for layers and broilers differ?
    • Layers - controlled environment - furnished cages, barn/aviary/perchery, free range
    • Broilers - controlled environment - floor based systems and free range
  12. What are the production systems for turkeys?
    All year round vs seasonal - controlled environments - floor based system, pole barn and free range
  13. True or false: biosecurity is not very strict in poultry production
  14. What is the term for the system common in poultry production, where all the birds come in together on day one and are all later removed together?
    All in all out system
  15. List examples of welfare concerns caused by genetic selection in the poultry industry
    Leg weakness, metabolic disorders, behavioural problems
  16. When were battery cages banned in the EU?
    January 2012
  17. What are battery cages to be replaced with?
    Enriched cages
  18. List some advantages of cage based systems
    • Less labour for stock workers
    • Total control of environment
    • Reduced risk of disease and easier to control if it should occur
    • Easier control of external parasites
    • Reduced risk of damage due to aggression, feather pecking and cannibalism 
    • Low mortality compared to other systems
    • No risk of predation
  19. List some disadvantages of cage based systems
    • Barren environment
    • Prevention of normal expression of behaviours
    • Lack of exercise reduces bone strength
    • Cage structure causes damage to feathers and feet
    • Inability to escape leads to feather pecking
    • Inspection of birds by stock workers was difficult, especially in top and bottom tiers
  20. Give an example of a welfare concern in broilers
    • Feed restriction
    • Leg and foot health and metabolic disease
Card Set
Meat vs Egg Production
Vet Med - Module 11
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