The effects of rearing system, forced moulting and three different layer housing systems on broken bones and bone strength, were examined in hens at the end of lay. Weak bones and broken bones were more common in battery hens which had been reared to point of lay on deep litter rather than in cages. The incidence of old breaks was greater in perchery birds (14 per cent) than in tiered terrace birds (5 per cent), and there was also a difference between their incidence in two types of perchery design (17 per cent and 11 per cent). Moulting was associated with a transient decline in bone strength, followed by an increase in strength during the second lay.
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