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Factors affecting egg production and layer bird mortality in private poultry farms in the subhumid zone of Nigeria

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Egg production and layer bird mortality data obtained from five different private farms in Zaria within the subhumid zone of Nigeria, over a 6-year period (1994–1999) were subjected to least squares analysis to determine the effects of age, season and year. It was demonstrated that age had a highly significant influence (P < 0.01) on egg production in that birds falling within the age group 30–39 weeks produced the highest number of eggs (3255 ± 109), while birds over 100 weeks of age produced the lowest number of eggs (1206 ± 412). Similarly, seasonal variation in egg production was also significant (P < 0.05); the highest egg production (2926 ± 90) was obtained during the early dry season, and the lowest (2423 ± 95) during the late wet season. Mortality was generally low (0.0–0.9%) and not significantly different from 20 to 49 weeks of age (P > 0.05). However, from 50 to 100 weeks of age, highly significant differences (P < 0.01) in mortality were observed, with the 90–100 weeks age group recording the highest mortality of 15.7 ± 1.3%. Furthermore, yearly variations in egg production and mortality were highly significant (P < 0.01) with 1999 producing the most eggs (4410 ± 102) and recording the lowest mortality (1.4%). It was concluded that due to the significant seasonal, age and yearly variations, data on egg production and mortality need to be adjusted for these effects to enable unbiased comparison between and within farms. Furthermore, farmers can make adequate feeding preparations commensurate with each season for optimal egg production.
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Keywords: age; egg production; mortality; season; subhumid zone

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Animal Production Research Institute and 2: Department of Animal Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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