Productivity and mortality of laying hens in aviaries: a systematic review

Aerni, V.; Brinkhof, M.W.G.; Wechsler, B.; Oester, H.; Fröhlich, E. (2005). Productivity and mortality of laying hens in aviaries: a systematic review. World's poultry science journal, 61(1), pp. 130-142. Cambridge University Press 10.1079/WPS200450

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A systematic review of investigations on productivity, mortality and cannibalism of laying hens housed in aviaries is presented. In Part One we reviewed the studies that compared these parameters between laying hens housed in aviaries and in conventional cages. In Part Two we investigated the relative impact of strain, beak trimming and rearing condition on productivity and mortality in aviaries. The comparative analysis revealed that aviary hens consumed 3.0 % more food than caged hens, and food conversion was 6.7 % higher in aviaries than in cages. On the other hand, the mortality rate and cannibalism rate did not differ significantly between the two housing systems. The analysis of causes of variation in productivity, mortality rate and cannibalism rate in aviaries revealed a strong effect of strain. Beak trimming was associated with a reduced prevalence of cannibalism rates but had no effect on overall mortality. It also reduced egg weight and food consumption. Early access to litter during the rearing period had a positive effect on egg weight; egg mass, food conversion and mortality rate. In conclusion, we found a slightly reduced productivity of aviaries in relation to cages although the mortality rates and the prevalence of cannibalism did not differ between these housing systems. To further improve productivity and reduce mortality of hens housed in aviaries we recommend the choice of suitable strains and the implementation of improved rearing conditions including early access to litter.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Brinkhof, Martin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Cambridge University Press




Marceline Brodmann

Date Deposited:

30 Jul 2020 10:04

Last Modified:

30 Jul 2020 10:04

Publisher DOI:





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