The Journal of applied poultry research vol:18 pages:90-102
Although the transition from cage housing to alternative systems commenced more than 20 yr ago, there is still an ongoing need for information supporting system understanding, system development, and genetic selection. Cannibalism remains one of the largest problems in these housing systems. Furthermore, recent developments in feed prices have increased the price of animal feed, raising production costs of eggs. Replacing feedstuffs with cheaper self-grown crops might be a possible solution to lower feed costs. In Belgium, and more specifically, in the Kempen region, corn is a widely grown crop that is usually used for feeding dairy cows, yet a ground mix of dry corn grains and a small part of the cob, known as corn cob mix (CCM), can also be used as poultry feed. In this paper the effect of the fibrous feed CCM on the prevalence of cannibalism on hens with trimmed and untrimmed beaks is investigated. The results show a positive effect of CCM on mortality; nevertheless, the mortality in the groups of untrimmed hens was very high, indicating the importance of beak trimming. Furthermore, a positive effect of CCM on egg weight was observed.