CRF’s first layer research facility opened in the fall of 1957, and since then 359 layer trials have been conducted for the benefit of egg producers worldwide. Our strong history of layer research leads us to our mission to continue to provide programs & information which will allow the CRF members to produce innovative, competitive and socially acceptable layer feeds while improving the return on investment for egg producing operations. Today, CRF members apply CRF’s research to more than 3,250,000 metric tons of layer feeds annually!
Our current layer research focus is to…
- Develop the strategies and nutritional packages that will improve egg shell quality (reduce cracked eggs).
- Improving caloric efficiency.
- Develop strategies to maintain egg weight in the large egg category and reduce the age to obtain 50% of large eggs and/or increase the number of eggs in the large category.
CRF’s layer research is predominantly conducted at our research facility located in St. Jean-Baptiste, QC, Canada that is owned by CRF member Sollio Agriculture. Some of the research farm’s features include…..
- The layer trials utilize 100 cages of 3 hens. Each cage is equipped with one feeder and one nipple. The room is divided in 2 rows and 2 tiers of 25 cages each. The room is equipped with a heated floor and a central lighting system. All hens are fed manually and ad libitum.
- Per CRF’s standardization trials, the coefficient of variation allows for 4-5 treatments with 20-25 replications in order to measure a difference of 4 grams in feed intake and a 2 gram difference in egg weight.
- Current hen genetics are 300 Shaver White.
- Typical trial is 8 weeks, but can be extended if necessary.
- All research diets are manufactured under CRF’s specific operating procedures.
- Feed analysis varies based on the questions of the trials, but in all studies we determine crude protein, crude fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.
- Trial observations and measurements typically include:
- All hens are weighed twice during the trial (at the beginning & end of the trial). It is also possible to weigh them during the trial if necessary. Initial hen weights are used to distribute and block according to their body weight and their previous treatment for the new trial.
- On a daily basis researchers check nipple waterers, collect eggs, check egg quality (dirty eggs, broken eggs, soft shell), check hens’ health (injury and mortality).
- On a weekly basis the researchers conduct weigh backs of non-consumed feed per cage, determine egg weights per cage, conduct a litter clean out, etc.
- Data collected and analyzed includes feed intake, laying rate, egg weight, egg mass, feed conversion ratio, dirty eggs, broken eggs, soft shell and body weight gain.
- Other procedures & analysis can be conducted as specified by the trial design. The CRF Layer Research Farm has the capability to include water treatments and/or separate feeders for special ingredients. An on-farm lab can provide:
- Intestinal biopsy.
- Collection of dropping per cage.
- Blood samples.
- Fracture force of each egg.
- Shell thickness.
- Candling test.
- Haugh Unit measurements.
Confidentiality and efficiencies of research. The CRF Poultry Research Team reviews all of our layer trial protocols, provides an assessment & interpretation of the results, and prepares an economic analysis.