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This paper is an integral part of the special publication series that arose from the multidisciplinary and multi-institutional project of the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES). The CSES project involves 3 housing systems for egg production at the same research farm site in the Midwest, USA, namely, a conventional cage (CC) house, an aviary (AV) house, and an enriched colony (EC) house. The CC house (141.4 m L × 26.6 m W × 6.1 m H) had a nominal capacity of 200,000 hens (6 hens in a cage at a stocking density of 516 cm2/hen), and the cages were arranged in 10 rows, 8 tiers per cage row, with a perforated aisle walkway at 4-tier height. The AV house (154.2 m L × 21.3 m W × 3.0 m H) and the EC house (154.2 m L × 13.7 m W × 4.0 m H) each had a nominal capacity of 50,000 hens. The AV house had 6 rows of aviary colonies, and the EC house had 5 rows of 4-tier enriched colonies containing perches, nestbox, and scratch pads (60 hens per colony at a stocking density of 752 cm2/hen). The overarching goal of the CSES project, as stated in the opening article of this series, was to comprehensively evaluate the 3 egg production systems from the standpoints of animal behavior and well-being, environmental impact, egg safety and quality, food affordability, and worker health. So that all the area-specific papers would not have to repeat a detailed description of the production systems and the management practices, this paper is written to provide such a description and to be used as a common reference for the companion papers.
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Zhao, Yang; Shepherd, Timothy A.; Swanson, J. C.; Mench, J. A.; Karcher, D. M.; and Xin, Hongwei, "Comparative evaluation of three egg production systems: Housing characteristics and management practices" (2015). Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications. 624.