VATHANA SANN1, LOAN CHHUM PHITH2, SUHEANG SORN2
1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute for Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Germany
2Royal University of Agriculture, Faculty of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Cambodia
Intensive livestock production has greatly increased the productivity and efficiency of food production but also resulted in considerable criticism by various segment of society. The ban of confined layers chicken in the cages is effective in European countries but this system is still implemented among farmers and producers in Tropics. Short term profiles of confined system are emphasised at the expense of animal welfare, soil fertility and sustainability. However, evidence of the comparison of confinement and free-range layers production in Cambodia is not yet investigated. The objective of this experiment is to evaluate the productivity of free-range (FS) and confined layer chicken production system (CS). 1400 twenty week-old ISA-Brown chicken were divided into two groups of production system, FS and CS. Chicken in FS were kept on an open area of concrete floor covered by rice husk and free-access to wooden nest for laying egg whereas those in CS were confined in individual cage. Feed, supplemented with fresh vegetable and water were provided ad"=libitum during 12 weeks of experiment. At the last 4 weeks of the end of experiment, egg production among was stagnant, but slightly significant difference, 75.12% of FS and 70.02 of CS. Daily feed intake and egg weight in grams of FS were higher than CS, 114.02 and 103.05, and 62.35 and 57.80 respectively. Due to cannibalism, mortality of layers in FS (9.57) were higher than CS (1.86). Moreover, the feed conversion ratio (grams feed/1 gram eggs) of FS (2.43) were better than CF (2.55) significantly. Eggs produced in FS were preferred among consumer on the market. However, management of this system required a high productive cost in preventing the prevalence of disease and cannibalism. While labour cost in tropical country is not a constraint in livestock production, free"=range layer production system is an approach of animal welfare attention and long"=term benefit.
Keywords: Confined system, free range system, layer chickens