Effect of Claw Abrasives in Cages on Claw Condition, Feather Cover and Mortality of Laying Hens

  • Glatz, P.C. (Pig and Poultry Production Institute South Australian Research and Development Institute, Roseworthy South Australia)
  • Received : 2002.05.14
  • Accepted : 2004.05.05
  • Published : 2004.10.01


A trial was conducted to determine the effect of abrasive strips and abrasive paint in layer cages on claw length and claw sharpness, foot condition, feather cover and mortality of hens. During the preparation of the cages for the experiment it was simpler and took less time to apply the pre-prepared paint with a spatula to the egg guard compared to sticking the abrasive strips onto the egg guard. Fitting the strips took longer because it had to be cut from a 25 mm roll, cut into the appropriate lengths, the tape backing removed and then stuck onto the egg guard section. Abrasive paint was more effective as a claw shortener than abrasive strips. The birds using the abrasive paint had the shortest (p<0.05) claw length and lowest (p<0.05) claw sharpness. One of the original reasons for reducing claw length with claw shorteners was to reduce mortality by minimising skin skin abrasions caused by the claws. Surprisingly hen mortality from prolapse and cannibalism was higher (p<0.05) in cages fitted with abrasives. There are no other reports in the literature showing an increase in prolapse and cannibalism from hens using abrasives.


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