Selected Websites


Bell D (2000). Economics of alternative replacement programs. World Poultry 16(6): 30-35. Department of Animal Science, University of California, Riverside, California

            NAL Call Number: SF481 M54

The paper discusses the factors involved in analyzing whether induced moulting, as part of a layer replacement programme, can increase economic returns over those from all-pullet programmes. Because of the complex interrelationships involved, it cannot be stated conclusively that recycling is economically better or worse than an all-pullet programme. With accurate performance and pricing information, and the use of a computer, the final answer can be determined for each set of conditions. The impacts of the elimination of induced moulting on the US egg industry are highlighted.

Descriptors: pullets, hens, moulting, replacement, economic analysis, economics, optimization, profitability, egg production, poultry

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Bondarev EI; Popova LA; Andrushchenko NA (1998). Extension of production period of utilizing laying hens of commercial flock by forced molting. Izvestiya Timiryazevskoi Sel'skokhozyaistvennoi Akademii (3): p 161-171. ISSN: 0021-342X

Dep. Poult. Breed., K. A. Timiryazev Mosc. Agric. Acad., Moscow, Russia

The effect of different schemes of forced molting on productivity of commodity laying hens of P-46 cross under intermittent and non-intermittent lighting has ben studied. By a number of characteristics, including economic ones, 2 schemes of forcing molting in poultry appeared to be most efficient: fasting for 9 days under intermittent lighting and fasting for 6 days followed by alternation of three days of fasting with days of limited feeding hens under regime of non-intermittent lighting.


Chen LH; McNaughton JL; Malone GW (1982). A system approach to determining the feasibility of forced molting commercial layers. Poultry Science 61(6): 1029-1036.

Agricultural Biological Engineering Dep., MAFES-Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi State, Mississippi

            NAL Call Number: 47.8-AM33P

The economical and practical considerations in determining the feasibility of molting a commercial layer flock are based on several production and economical factors. A computerized model used to predict: the economic feasibility of molting when layers are in various production periods; the net profit resulting from different molting procedures and the effect of increased feed cost on profit is described. Forced laying hen molt resulted in higher net profit for 2 different molt regimens than for the no-molt alternative. Based on the fixed inputs, the molt procedure employed resulted in different net revenues. The situation and assumed conditions evaluated represented several alternatives to commercial producers. The model is designed to generally evaluate the feasibility of molting at various ages. The reliability of using a computer model to predict molt or no-molt alternatives is dependent on accurate data inputs.

Descriptors: laying hens, production factors, economic factors, computer modeling, environmental temperature, stage of production, molting strategies, feed costs, net profit

Copyright© 2002, Biosis


Cunningham DL; McCormick CC (1985). A multicycle comparison of dietary zinc and feed removal molting procedures production and income performance. Poultry Science 64 (2). 1985. 253-260

Dep. Of Poultry And Avian Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 Am33P

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate performance and income factors associated with ZnO and feed removal multicycle molt programs. Experiment 1 compared 2 strains of commercial White Leghorn layers molted with 20,000 ppm ZnO in the feed for 4 days with a feed removal program of 10 days followed by 10 days of cracked corn. Experiment 2 compared a single strain of White Leghorn layers molted with 20,000 ppm ZnO with feed removal for 4 and 10 days. Body weight loss during molt averaged 25-30% for the longer duration molt programs compared to 14-16% for the short duration programs. Differences on body weight loss between ZnO and feed removal programs employing the same durations of treatment were not significant (P < 0.05). No significant (P < 0.05) differences were observed between ZnO and feed removal programs for hen-housed egg production, days to reduce egg production to 0%, feed usage or mortality rates. Differences in egg size and egg grade distributions were observed among molting programs and strains. Incomes over pullet and feed costs for the molted flocks were greatest during the 1st molt cycle. Incomes over pullet and feed cost during the 2nd molt cycle were generally negative. The longer duration molt programs resulted in total incomes over feed and pullet costs averaging 5.0.cents./doz more than the shorter 4 day duration programs. Duration of molt-inducing periods had greater effects on performance and income results than did the method used to induce rest.

Descriptors: white leghorn chicken, corn, metabolic-drug, egg production, pharmacodynamics


Douglas CR; Christmas RB; Ford SA (1989). An economic analysis of molting systems including length of fast age and multiple molts. Poultry Science 68(Suppl.1): 180.

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 Am33P

Descriptors: hens, food deprivation, egg production, specific gravity


Gonzalez EA (1970). Aspectos economicos de la muda forzada engallinas ponedoras. [Economic aspects of forced moulting in laying hens.] Ciencia Veterinaria (Mexico) 15(1): 55-63.

NAL Call Number: 41.8 C483


Gordon RW; Roland DA Sr (1997). Performance and profitability of second cycle laying hens as influenced by body weight and body weight reduction during molt. Poultry Science 76(Suppl.1): 3.

Dep. Poult. Sci., Auburn Univ., Auburn, Alabama

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 Am33P

Descriptors: body weight, economics, egg weight, feed consumption, feed costs, molt, performance, profit


Horn RG (1976). A look at force moulting [Economics of poultry production] Poultry Notes New South Wales Department of Agriculture Jan: 9-18.

NAL Call Number: 47.9 N472


Kashibuchi M (1972). Forced molting in laying chicken and its economic traits in poultry industry. Animal Husbandry (Tokyo) 26 (12): 68-72.

NAL Call Number: 49 C43


Kashiwagi S; Shirasaki K; Sagara H; Kaizuka T; Nakaso H; Iwase N; Yamao H; Takahashi Y; Matuzaki M; Ikeda K; Okuyama M (1981). Effects of restricted feeding during the rearing period and of induced molting during the laying period on the economical profit in the laying hens. Japanese Poultry Science 18(2): 105-119.

Kagoshima Prefectural Poultry Experiment Station, Sendai-shi 895, Japan.

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 N57

From the results of previous research (see previous abst.) a management programme was recommended in which growing pullets were given restricted feed. From an economic analysis it is recommended that hens should be force-moulted at 80 weeks and replaced at 113 weeks of age. With the recommended feeding programme it is concluded that the economically-productive life of a hen will be increased by 40% and that the annual profit per hen will be increased by up to 26%, compared with hens fed to appetite without force-moulting.

Descriptors: feed intake, hens, moulting, egg production


Lee K; Holiday OR; Petty CE (1981). Effect of force molting regime on economic return (chickens, egg production). Arkansas farm research - Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station 30(2): 11.

NAL Call Number: 100 AR42F


McClelland JW; Wetzstein ME; Noles RK (1989). Dynamic asset replacement decisions to enhance farm profits. Technical Bulletin, US Department of Agriculture No. 1758, 24pp.

            NAL Call Number: 1 Ag84Te no.1758

A model is developed to improve farm profitability by helping farmers determine when to rejuvenate assets instead of replacing them. The model is especially applicable to recyclable assets (like breeding stock, producing stock, farm machinery) and when replacement costs are a significant portion of production costs. In making its rejuvenation/replacement recommendation, the model considers seasonal fluctuations in net revenue resulting from price cycles of the farm product. Applied to the Georgia egg industry, the model shows that force molting hens (temporarily halting egg production) can extend their productive life. A mixed strategy of asset rejuvenation and replacement can raise profits significantly.

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


McDaniel BA; Aske DR (2000). Egg prices, feed costs, and the decision to molt. Poultry Science 79(9): 1242-1245.

NAL Call Number: 47.8 Am33P

On April 7, 1998, the United Poultry Concerns filed a petition with the Department of Health and Human Services of the Food and Drug Administration calling for the elimination of the practice of forced molting of laying hens in the US. In reaction to this petition, this study investigated the economic importance of forced molting as a short-term production management tool for egg producers. The relationship between shell egg prices and feed costs and the occurrence of forced molting in the five shell egg-pricing regions in the US was addressed. The purpose of this analysis was to determine whether forced molting is used to slow egg production during periods of falling or low egg prices or periods of high or rising feed costs. Ordinary least squares was used to test the relationship between the independent variables (egg, corn, and meal prices) and the dependent variable (percentage of layers in molt). In four of the five regions, there was a significant inverse relationship (P < 0.05) between egg prices and the percentage of layers in molt. This analysis suggests that producers were influenced by current egg prices when making the decision to molt. However, the relationship between the percentage of layers in molt and corn and meal prices was less clear. Although a positive relationship between feed prices and molt was found in each region, in only one region was the relationship statistically significant (P < 0.05).

Descriptors: hens, molting, egg production, agricultural prices, price elasticities, production costs, maize, soybean oilmeal


Narahari D (2001). Performance of force-moulted hens. Cheiron 30(5/6): 153-156.

Department of Poultry Science, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai - 600 007, India.

            NAL Call Number: SF604 C56

The effects of force-moulting on the subsequent performance of hens and on the cost of production of eggs were studied. A total of 52 989 commercial hybrid hens were used in this study. Force-moulting of hybrid layers, by combining feed, water and light restriction at 75 weeks of age, increased egg production by 14.8%. The 13-month pre-moult hen-day egg production was 79.9%, whereas the 6-month post-moult hen-day egg production was 76.1%. The post-moult peak egg production was 84.7%. The mortality during pre-moult, moulting and post-moult periods were 10.8, 3.12 and 5.26%, respectively. The total cost of egg production was Rs 1.12 during pre-moult; whereas, the post-moult egg production cost was Rs 1.00 only, leading to a 10.7% reduction in the egg production cost. When pre- and post-moult egg production periods were combined (20-106 weeks), the egg production cost was Rs 1.08, with a saving of 3.57%. Based on this study, it is more economical to retain layers for egg production, until 106 weeks of age after force-moulting at around 75 weeks of age.

Descriptors: costs, egg production, eggs, hens, laying performance, mortality, moulting, poultry

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Parlour JW; Halter AN (1970). A study of the economics of force molting in commercial egg production. Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 112, Dec 1970, 74pp.

NAL Call Number: 100 OR3S

Descriptors: decision theory, economic analysis, eggs, risk, management, poultry, t-linear programming


Sahota AW; Bhatti BM (2001). Effect of feed restriction during growing period on laying performance of white leghorn hens. Pakistan Veterinary Journal 21(3): 145-147.

Poultry Research Institute, Punjab, Shamsabad Murree Road, Rawalpind, Pakistan

            NAL Call Number: SF604 P32

The experiment was conducted to study effect of feed restriction during growing period on the subsequent performance of commercial White Leghorn (Babcock) layers. Two hundred and seventy chicks (6-weeks-old) were randomly divided into three equal groups (A, B and C). The birds in group A were given feed ad libitum (full feeding -FF) while those in groups B and C maintained on the restricted feeding (RF) were given 10 and 20 % less feed than the recommended daily feed allowance, respectively from 7 to 9 and 13 to 15 weeks and 20 and 30 percent lesser feed respectively, of the daily allowance from 10 to 12 weeks of age. From 16 weeks onward till 58 weeks of age all the groups were fed ad libitum. The results showed reduction (P< 0.01) in feed intake and body weight (P<0.05) of pullets and delay in age of sexual maturity (P<0.01) due to feed restriction. During the laying phase a non-significant effect of the feed restriction programme on egg production, feed consumption, feed conversion efficiency (feed/dozen eggs), mortality rate and cost of feed/dozen eggs was noted. An overall benefit of Rs. 13.54 and 21.54 on RF-I (group B) and RF-II (group C), respectively, in comparison to that of FF during the growing period reflect on better economics of feed restriction programme in laying stock under given environmental conditions.

Descriptors: age at first egg, costs, feed conversion efficiency, feed intake, hens, laying performance, liveweight, mortality, poultry, pullets, restricted feeding, sexual maturity

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Sharma RR; Mehta RK (1998). Economics of feeding different levels of protein to force moulted commercial White Leghorn egg laying hens. Indian Journal of Animal Production and Management 12(3/4): 154-158.

Department of Animal Nutrition and Forages, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana 141004, India

            NAL Call Number: SF55 I4I53

Experiments were conducted to develop a cost-effective post-moult feeding programme for hens. 57-week-old commercial White Leghorn hens were force-moulted, divided into 3 groups and fed on diets containing 13 (T1), 15 (T2) or 17% (T3) CP for 32 weeks. Diets contained maize, deoiled rice bran, deoiled groundnut cake and fish meal. Economics of egg production in the second year was compared with that in the first year (premoult). Egg production was 58.3, 63.6 and 63.9% in T1, T2 and T3, respectively; egg size was 53.0, 55.5 and 56.7 g, respectively. Feed intake per egg laid was 207, 187 and 189 g, respectively. Based on egg production and egg mass, feed cost/egg was lowest in T2. Cost of moulting, which took into account salvage value, feeding cost during moulting, labour and amortization cost, was Rs 36.32, 38.98 and 39.44 for T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Profit/hen for 32 weeks was greater during the second year; profit/head and moulting profit/head were highest in T2 (Rs 7.93 vs. 2.14 and 4.18 in T2 and T3, respectively). The results suggest that under the conditions of the present study, maximum profit can be achieved by feeding force-moulted hens 15% CP.

Descriptors: hens, feeding, costs, egg weight, feed intake, protein intake, economics, egg production, poultry

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Shirasaki K; Kashiwagi S (1987). Effects of restricted feeding during the rearing period and of induced molting during the laying period on the economical profit in the laying hens. Japanese Poultry Science 24(6): 336-347.

Kagoshima Prefectural Poultry Experiment Station, Sendai-shi 895, Japan

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 N57

Equations are given for computing profits with laying hens fed freely or subjected to feed restriction and force-moulted at 56, 68, 80 or 96 weeks old or at 56 and 96, or 68 and 96 weeks old.

Descriptors: egg production, feed intake, economics moult

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Smith GS (1990). A stochastic asset replacement model for regenerative assets. Dissertation Abstracts International. A, Humanities and Social Sciences 50(10): 3309.

Thesis, University of Georgia, 1989, 112pp., available from University Microfilms, Inc. Order Number: DA9007699

            NAL Call Number: Z5055.U49D5

A dynamic stochastic replacement model for regenerative assets is developed. Numerical techniques are implemented in estimating the theoretical model for a layer hen application. The cyclical nature of egg prices is exploited in solving an infinite horizon problem with dynamic programming procedures. Layer hens and the moulting process are considered regenerative in nature. Production prices and quantities are stochastic elements in the objective functional. Parameterization of risk parameters indicates varying levels of force moulting decisions as well as optimal lengths of production periods. As risk aversion increases (decreases) decisions to molt a flock, versus straight replacement, increases (decreases). Sensitivity of the model to stochastic elements of the objective functional is also explored. Initial solutions, given expectations of prices and quantities, were found to be fairly robust to random shocks to prices and quantities.

Descriptors: risk, eggs, prices, moulting, poultry farming, hens, replacement, optimization, stochastic models, dynamic programming, optimization methods

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International


Swanson MH; Bell DD (1976). Force molting of chickens. VI. Economics [Costs]. Division of Agricultural Science, Univ Calif Berkeley Coop Ext Leaflet Number2874: 11pp.

NAL Call Number: S544.3.C2C3


Zeddies J (1981). Economical aspects for inducing force moulting in layers. [Betriebswirtschaftliche Betrachtungen zur Durchfuhrung der Mauser bei Legehennen.]

Archiv fur Geflugelkunde 45(4): 158-166.

            NAL Call Number: 47.8 AR2

Descriptors: hens, egg production, economics, cost benefit analysis, molting


Zeelen HHM (1975). Technical and economic results from forced moulting of laying hens [Egg production costs]. Worlds Poultry Science Journal 31(1): 57-67.

NAL Call Number: 47.8 W89


Zeelen HHM (1973). Technical and economical results of forced moult in layers. [Technische en economische resultaten met geforceerde rui bij leghennen.] Bedrijfsontwikkeling 4(7/8): 681-685.

            NAL Call Number: S11.B43

25,000 layers were involved in a series of tests on four farms over several years. In one test, production was compared in hens brought into moult during the 10th four-week laying period and in untreated controls. Results were converted to a yearly basis. In the two groups respectively, the number of eggs produced/hen averaged 211.8 and 214.8, egg weight 62.6 and 61.6 g., weight of eggs produced/hen 13.25 and 13.26 kg., and food consumed/kg. eggs produced 3.09 and 3.07 kg. A similar test involved hens brought into moult in the 10th, 11th or 12th four-week period and controls. The number of eggs produced/hen averaged 220.7, 221.4, 222.0 and 226.7 respectively, egg weight 63.2, 63.1, 63.3 and 62.2 g., weight of eggs produced/hen 13.94, 13.96, 14.05 and 14.10 kg., and food consumed/kg. eggs produced, 2.93, 2.92, 2.95 and 2.88 kg.

Descriptors: hens, moulting, induction, laying performance, egg production, egg weight, food conversion

            Copyright© 2002, CAB International

Selected Websites

Economics of Alternative Replacement Programs - An Egg Economics Update Number 226 - April 20, 2000, Cooperative Extension - University of California at Davis

Is your current replacement program still the best? An Egg Economics Update Number 178 - April 19, 1996, Cooperative Extension - University of California at Davis


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October 23, 2002