Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Ronald A. Peterson.


A trial with four replicates was conducted to compare performance and fertility of naturally mated broiler breeders maintained on litter floor versus their counterparts maintained in two tiered colony cages. Cage maintained hens with restricted feeding weighed less (P 0.05) was found in egg weights among treatments. No difference (P > 0.01) was found in feed conversion ratio per dozen eggs produced by hens maintained in cages and those on the conventional floors. A higher (P < 0.05) hen-day production was observed from 29 to 35 weeks of age in broilers maintained in cages than those on the conventional floors, but after this period no difference (P > 0.05) occurred. There were more (P < 0.05) eggs collected with cracks from cages than from the litter floors. The fertility rate was different (P 0.05) difference in mortality rate occurred between hens maintained on the fitter floors versus those in cages. When the breeders were 41 weeks of age, eggs from each treatment group were randomly collected, weighed, and incubated. Offspring from these treatments were randomly allocated to litter floor pens. Progeny were spaced at 23 CM.2 and were reared to 42 days. There was no significant (P > 0.05) difference in growth rate and feed conversion ratio in offspring from hens maintained on the litter floors versus offspring from hens maintained in colony cages. No significant difference (P > 0.05) in mortality rate was observed among chicks produced from eggs collected from both treatments. Broiler breeding in colony cages was economical up to 40 weeks of age.