Cage layer fatigue in laying birds – Poultry Punch

Anupam Soni1*, Sharad Mishra2, Nishma Singh3, Neetu Sonkar1, Upasana Verma1, Subhrajit Das1, S.K. Yadav4 and Sandeep Bissu5
College of Veterinary Science and A.H., CGKV, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)-491001 India

Abstract: Cage layer fatigue is the important disease which is more prevalent in India the disease is more frequently occure in laying hens which kept in cage.  The conditions develop of Exercise birds Breaking strength of bones of layers in cages is less than that of the birds reared on litter floor. Poor bone strength is the single greatest factor responsible for cage layer fatigue leading to loss of production and death of birds in severe conditions of osteoporosis.


The poultry sector is one of the most rapidly growing livestock sectors worldwide. The poultry industry consists of two major elements, the egg industry and the poultry meat industry. In the former, the majority of birds are reared in cages housed in large commercial units. However, there is an increasing interest of free-range and open-barn systems. In the poultry meat industry, the birds are raised entirely on deep litter in large sheds. Over the past several decades improved poultry production systems have contributed to significantly enhanced performance traits like egg production and growth rate and economical production of poultry products. However, the poultry industry is also increasingly being challenged to address consumer and general public concerns about animal welfare. The commercial applications in agriculture of new breeding technologies, as well as conventional breeding strategies, have the potential to influence animal welfare in both positive and negative ways. The term cage layer fatigue was first time used in North America is characterized by leg weakness in high producing egg producing hens kept in cages. Caged layer fatigue (CLF) is an extreme condition they loss of calcium from bone particularly from vertebrae and leads to spinal collapse and paralysis. These conditions characterized by inability to stand on their feet with fragile bones. It is occurred in young layer hens kept in cages in the period of peak egg production.


  • Insufficient amount of intake of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 supplementation.
  • Deficiency of the calcium and phosphorus in feed.

Alter the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from gut.

  • Poor feeding system, generating separation of fine particle limestone in the feeders.
  • Overcrowding in cage, improper feeder space and fewer feeding periods can generate competition for calcium intake and contribute to CLF in dominated birds.
  • Lack of exercise



Paralysis of hen due to collapse of spinal bone after achieving peak egg production which is maintained in cages.  Birds become to unable to stand on her feet’s, thin egg shell, death of bird due starvation and dehydration they can’t reach to feed and water


Caged layer fatigue is a related condition observed in caged laying hens, usually around peak egg production, that may also be associated with osteoporosis, a condition causing brittle bones as a result of reduced bone density.

 Treatment and Management

Cage layer fatigue is easy to prevent through proper management practices. Affected birds will recover if moved to the floor. A high incidence of cage layer fatigue can be prevented by ensuring the normal weight-for-age of pullets at sexual maturity and by giving pullets a high calcium diet (minimum 4.0% Ca) for at least 7 days prior to first oviposition.

Diets must provide adequate quantities of calcium and phosphorus to prevent deficiencies. However, feeding diets that contain >2.5% calcium during the growing period produces a high incidence of nephrosis, visceral gout, calcium urate deposits in the ureters, and sometimes high mortality, especially in the presence of infectious bronchitis virus. Eggshell strength and bone strength can both be improved by feeding ~50% of the dietary calcium supplement in the form of coarse limestone, with the remaining half as fine particle limestone.

Offering the coarse supplement permits the birds to satisfy their requirements when they need it most, or allows the coarse material to be retained in the gizzard where the calcium can be absorbed continuously. A readily assimilable calcium and/or calcium phosphate supplement is effective if started very soon after paralysis due to calcium deficiency develops. Adding a vitamin/electrolyte supplement to drinking water is recommended in any age bird suffering from this condition.

Vannamin feeding is proved to be booster for improving egg shell structure, improving bone health, minimizing effects of cage layer fatigue. Vannamin – feeding has succeeded improving egg production, minimizing breakage – Every season, whatever age

Prevention and treatment of cage layer fatigue

  • For normal bone calcification, calcium and phosphorous need to be supplied in adequate amounts as well as in a ratio of 2:1. Excess of either calcium or phosphorous can cause rickets. In addition to proper nutrition, cage layer fatigue is easy to prevent through proper management practices. Controlling stress and keeping it to a minimum is an important way to prevent CLF. Hens should be kept in comfortable, clean conditions. If a layer house is too warm, the hens will begin to pant. When they pant, they do not properly utilize calcium and therefore make the condition worse. Additionally, the hens should be routinely checked for parasites—including worms, lice, and mites. Parasites can cause unnecessary stress and discomfort, which can further aggravate CLF.
  • Preparing pullets for the demands of high egg production is another important consideration in preventing CLF. Pullets should reach their ultimate frame size before they are brought into production. Failure to feed a higher calcium diet during the pre-lay period is a major predisposing factor to CLF in highly productive layers. Flock supervision is crucial because sexual maturation must be observed in order to know when to increase calcium rations. If pullets aren’t given higher calcium rations soon enough, they may be at a higher risk for layer fatigue.
  • Vitamin D3 plays a critical role in regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium.
  • Therefore, in addition to ensuring that poultry diets have an appropriate level and balance of calcium and phosphorous, they must be adequate in vitamin D3.
  • Bone mineralization is a constant process and therefore correction of dietary deficiencies or imbalances can ease the condition if identified early enough.
  • Mould or fungal toxins, called mycotoxins, can have a range of effects on poultry including interference with the absorption of nutrients. Rickets caused through the presence of dietary mycotoxins can be treated by replacing the toxin-contaminated feed and by supplementing vitamin D3 to three or fourfold of the usual levels.
  • There is a higher incidence of bone calcification problems in high producing layer hens housed in cages rather than floor-based housing systems, hence the term cage layer fatigue. This indicates the role of exercise in preventing or treating this condition.
  • Ayurvet’s herbal products are useful for poultry and for the improvement of calcium and phosphorus utilisation, which are the two key minerals in bone development and egg shell formation. Herbs such as Cissus quadrangularis, Uraria picta and Lepidium sativum are some of the herbs that increase the absorption and assimilation of both calcium and phosphorus in the body.


Calcium is the critical factor for better health and production at an early as well as at later stages of life. Due to selective feeding young birds cannot get enough calcium and other essential nutrients, which is the major contributing factor that plays an important role in CLF. In older age there is less or no production of calbinding (calcium binding protein) that is a deciding factor for the absorption of calcium from the gut. Supplementation with Ayurvet’s Ayucal-D ensures utilization and absorption of calcium in both early as well as old age of the bird and is thus helpful in the prevention and treatment of CLF, along with various other parameters such as egg production and egg shell quality.

1. M.V.Sc students, Department of Livestock Production & Management.College of veterinary science & A.H, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)

2. Head &Professor, Department of Livestock Production & Management.College of veterinary science & A.H, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)

3. Assistant Professor, Department of Livestock Production & Management.College of veterinary science & A.H, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)

4. M.V.Sc students, Department of Veterinary Surgery & Radiology.College of veterinary science & A.H, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)

5. B.V.Sc and A.H. 5th year student College of veterinary science & A.H, Anjora, Durg (C.G.)


POULTRY PUNCH incorporated in 1984 and we are in poultry media since last 36 years and publish Poultry punch – English Monthly Magazine. Mr Balwant Singh Rana prior to laying the foundation of Poultry Punch magazine was still involved with renowned Indian poultry companies and It was there that he had the vision of doing something exceptional for the Indian poultry industry and then he stepped into the poultry media.

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