Correlations between thermal environment and egg quality of two layer commercial strains
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Heat stress limits the productivity of laying hens, as reflected by egg production and egg quality. The present study aimed at showing the correlations between egg quality parameters and environmental variables recorded on the day eggs were laid and on the previous days. Birds were housed in battery cages in a commercial poultry house. Main component analyses were used to verify associations between environmental and production variables, and Pearson's linear correlation tests were used to further investigate those associations. Analyses were carried out separately for to layer strains, Dekalb® White and Hy-Line® w36, and the variables egg weight (g), eggshell weight (g), specific gravity (g/cm³) and eggshell percentage (%) were compared with the environmental variables of the same day of the production, and one, two, three, and four days before egg production. Sound intensity measured inside the houses was positively associated with the quality parameters of eggs produced on the next day. Thermal environmental variables affected the egg quality differently in each strain, particularly air temperature, internal roof tile temperature, relative humidity, and air velocity. Ammonia concentration measured inside the houses was lower than 1ppm, and did not affect production performance.