I am running a study on free-range chicken eggs vs. grocery store eggs in 50
Cornish cross chicks. The chicks are very prone to skeletal and other
metabolic problems attributed to rapid growth. This is a similar situation
we have in the rhea. The leg rotation problem has been eradicated by
feeding the rhea chicks infertile rhea eggs although this has never been
tested in a controlled experiment. There is no unsupplemented control
because I didn't want to make three chicken tractors.
Last fall, after the uproar on the poultry med list that grocery store eggs
were nutritionally identical to free range eggs, I decided to would run a
similar supplementation in Cornish cross chicks using free-range vs. grocery
store chicken eggs. If there is indeed a nutritional difference between the
eggs, the leg rotations should begin at about 3 weeks.
We are 10 days into the study and have had a few surprises. The first was
a variation in feed consumed, with the grocery egg birds consuming 20 more
than the free-range birds at one point. The amount of egg supplemented has
remained constant, so it is an ever decreasing proportion and feed
consumption is very close now. Chick weights are identical.
There is an odd feed intake pattern difference emerging. The grocery store
group eats similar amounts during daylight and nighttime hours (lights are
off at night), but the free range group has been eating 10->20 percent less
during the day. There are no sick chicks that I can see and I know what
sick chicks do.
Any speculation on why we may be seeing this? The bar graph is at the link
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