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South African Journal of Animal Science

On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589


GALIC, A. et al. Physical and mechanical characteristics of Hisex Brown hen eggs from three different housing systems. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2019, vol.49, n.3, pp.468-476. ISSN 2221-4062.

The aim of this study was to compare physical and mechanical characteristics of Hisex hen eggs collected from three different housing systems: enriched cage housing, aviary housing, and free-range systems. The following physical and mechanical characteristics if eggs were compared: dimensions, surface area, volume, sphericity, shape index, shell thickness, weight, composition, yolk to albumen ratio, rupture force, specific deformation, absorbed energy, and firmness. The largest and heaviest eggs were collected from cage housing, followed by eggs from free-range systems and aviary housing. According to shape index, eggs from aviary housing can be described as round, while eggs from cage housing and free-range systems can be characterised as normal or standard. Eggs from free-range laying hens had the highest yolk percentage and yolk to albumen ratio (26.2% and 0.427). In comparison to eggs from aviary housing and free-range systems, eggs from enriched cage housing had the thickest shells and the highest shell strength, and required the highest force to rupture those eggs. The average force required to rupture Hisex Brown hen eggs from cage housing in all three axes was 44.14 N, which was 12.1% higher than the average force required to rupture eggs from a free-range system (39.37 N) and 17.1% higher than the average force required to rupture eggs from aviary housing (37.68 n). The highest forces required to rupture eggs from all three housing systems were determined on loading along the X-front axis and the lowest forces were determined along the Z-axis. The results obtained in this study can be useful to producers when selecting hen housing systems in order to reduce egg damage during storage and transport.

Keywords : egg composition; egg weight; rupture force; shape index; shell thickness.

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