New performance standards for Hendrix Genetics Layers promise longer cycles, improved productivity and more sustainable egg production.
Since the last standards were published in 2016, the norm for free range layer flocks has increased from 72-week cycles to 76-weeks. Now, Hendrix Genetics Layer Breeds are depleting regularly at 80 weeks for brown birds.
Meanwhile, commercial flocks of Dekalb White Layers are repeatedly laying 500 eggs per hen housed over a 100-week cycle – making them what distributor Joice & Hill says are some of the most productive and efficient of all laying birds available.
These longer cycles are a result of breeding for improved liveability and persistency. Combined with the improvements in egg quality later in the cycle, the result is record numbers of saleable eggs across the cycle for producers.
“Longer cycles, more first quality eggs per bird and improved feed conversion will assist our customers in both their production cost and sustainability, says Joice & Hill managing director Nick Bailey.
The Bovans Brown is the best selling Hendrix Genetics breed in the UK, renowned for its robustness and ease of management. Improvements include nearly 11 more eggs and 700g of egg mass per hen housed for the same feed to 80 weeks.
The birds have improved liveability and need 100g grams less feed to produce 1kg of eggs. Egg weight remains more or less unchanged with good early egg weight gain – but not at the cost of too big an egg at the end.
Mr Bailey says there is a similar picture across all the company’s breeds, as Hendrix Genetics Layers deliver on its goal of longer cycles and more sustainable egg production – boosting margins for producers.
The launch of the new standards reflects increasing consumer interest in sustainability and improvements in welfare standards, says Mr Bailey. Longer cycles are enabled through increases in laying persistency and shell quality towards the end of lay.
The benefits of these longer cycles – combined with improved Feed Conversion Rates (FCR) – mean better lives for the hens and a lower carbon footprint for the eggs produced.
For more on poultry, read about the ammonia trials cutting emissions.