Egg production feasibility in laying hen with access to grazing




animal production, diagnosis, animal welfare, poultry


Introduction. The production of hens with access to grazing integrates bird, fodder, and marketing management. Objective. To describe laying hens’ production systems with grazing access in Costa Rica and determine the feasibility of implementing aproduction model. Materials and methods. During the years 2017 and 2018, information on the production, health, grazing, and egg management was collected and analyzed in six farms with laying birds that have access to grazing. To determine the feasibility of the proposed production model, a cash flow (ten years) was prepared, which included the investments to develop the system, and an inflation rate of 10% through the years. The costs of investment, operation, and income from the sale of the eggs, discarded hens, and poultry litter were analyzed. The NPV, IRR, C/B ratio, and break-even point were calculated. Results. Sixty six percent of the systems use specialized birds, densities between 5 to 12, and 1 to 3 birds m-2 in the shed and grazing area, respectively. Grazing began at 22 and 32 weeks, with 2-10 h day-1. Five systems did not substitute feed for fodder; they consider it as an added value. The proposal is demanding in facilities, plot, and work equipment. Feeds represent 41% of the operational costs, followed by labor (22 %), and bird purchase (17 %). It is profitable, by obtaining a positive NPV ($31 455.39) and IRR of 21.48 % and the C/B ratio>1, and the investment will be recovered after six years. Conclusions. Farms with laying hens with access to grazing evaluated in this work could improve in nutritional aspects and forage cultivation. In addition, they are production systems that present economic indicators that favor their implementation.


Download data is not yet available.


Araya-Vargas, J., & Chacón-Alfaro, D. (2011). Diagnóstico para la implementación de una granja de investigación y docencia en el módulo avícola de la Estación Experimental Agrícola Fabio Baudrit Moreno de la Universidad de Costa Rica [Tesis de licenciatura, Universidad de Costa Rica]. Repositorio de la Universidad de Costa Rica.

Axtell, R. C., & Arends, J. J. (1990). Ecology and management of arthropod pests of poultry. Annual Review of Entomology, 35, 101-126.

Bell, D. & Weaver, W. Jr. (2002). Commercial chicken meat and egg production (5th Ed.). Springer Science *Business Media, LLC.

Berg, C. (2001). Health and welfare in organic poultry production. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 95(Suppl 1), 37-45.

Brenes, C. (2012, setiembre 2). Huevos de pastoreo ganan mercado. El Financiero.

Campbell, D. L. M., Hinch, G. N., Dyall, T. R., Warin, L., Little, B. A., & Lee, C. (2017). Outdoor stocking density in freerange laying hens: radio-frequency identification on range use. Animal, 11(1), 121-130.

Carballo, C. (2004). Manual de manejo de pollos ecológicos. ZOE Tecno-Campo.

Carrillo, L., Medina-Torres, L., Tapia, G., & Guti. L. (2016). Rheological study of healthy chicken’s pooled tracheobronchial secretions and its modification by mucolytics drugs. Poultry Science, 95(11), 2667-2672.

Crawley, K. (2015). Fulfilling 100 % organic poultry diets: Roughage and foraging from the range (Technical Note 2). Organic Research Center.

Chaves, R. (2011). Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal: programa nacional de salud aviar. Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. (2001). The welfare of hens in free range systems.

Dhama, K., Latheef, S., Mani, S., Samad, H., Karthik, K., Tiwari, R., Khan, R., Alagawany, M., Farag, M., Alam, G., Laudadio, V., & Tufarelli, V. (2015). Multiple beneficial applications and modes de action of herbs in poultry health and production-A review. International Journal of Pharmacology, 11(3), 152-176.

Diario Oficial de las Comunidades Europeas. (1999). Directiva 1999/74/CE del Consejo de 19 de julio de 1999 por la que se establecen las normas mínimas de protección de las gallinas ponedoras. EUR-Lex. Recuperado el 22 de mayo, 2017, de

Gebhardt-Henrich, S., Toscano, M., & Fröhlich, E. (2014). Use of outdoor ranges by laying hens in different sized flocks. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 155, 74-81.

Harlander-Matauschek, A., Felsenstein, K., Niebuhr, K., & Troxler, J. (2006). Influence of pop hole dimensions on the number of laying hens outside on the range. Journal British Poultry Science, 47(2), 131-134.

Heerkens, J. L., Delezie, E., Zoons, J., Kempen, I., Ampe, B., Rodenburg, T. B. & Tuyttens, F. A. (2015). Specific characteristics of the aviary housing system affect plumage condition, mortality and production in laying hens. Poultry Science, 94(9), 2008-2017.

Humane Farm Animal Care. (2014). Normas del HFAC para la producción de gallinas ponedoras.

Kahrs, R. F. (1995). Principios generales de desinfección. Revue Scientifique et Technique, 14(1), 143-163.

Lay, D. C., Fulton, R. M., Hester, P. Y., Karcher, D. M., Kjaer, J. B., Mench, J. A., Mullens, B. A., Newberry, R. C., Nicol, C. J. O`Sullivan, N. P. & Porter, R. (2011). Hen welfare in different housing systems. Poultry Science, 90, 278-294.

Lohmann Tierzuch. (2013). Management guide. Alternative systems. Management – recommendations for the rearing of pullets in deep litter, perchery and free – range systems. Doc Player.

Main, D. C. J., Thornton, P., & Kerr, K. (2005). Teaching animal welfare science, ethics, and law to veterinary students in the United Kingdom. Journal Veterinary Medical Education, 32(4), 505-508.

Miao, Z. H., Glatz, P. C., Ru, Y. J., Wyatt, S. K., & Rodda, B. J. (2005). Integrating free-range hens into a wheat stubble. International Journal Poultry Science, 4(8), 526-530.

Monge, D. (2016, octubre 4-5). Caracterización de la producción de huevo de gallina en Costa Rica [Presentación en conferencia]. En Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (Ed.), Simposio Una Visión del Sector Agropecuario Basada en el CENAGRO 2014 (pp. 9-28). Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos.

Muñoz, D. (2016). Gallinas libres huevos caros. El Financiero. Recuperado el 18 de mayo, 2017, de

Muñoz, J. & Vellojin, J. (2002). Diseño y evaluación de un sistema de producción de huevos con gallinas bajo pastoreo en el trópico húmedo. Universidad Earth.

Organización Mundial De Sanidad Animal. (2015). Bienestar animal y sistemas de producción de pollos de engorde.

Plamondon, R. (2003). Range poultry housing. Livestock Production Guide. University of California.

Rault, J. L., Hemsworth, P., & Cronin, G. (2016). Free range hen welfare: Characterisation of “outdoor” and “indoor” hens and physical features in the range. Australian Egg Corporation Limited.

Ricaurte-Galindo, S. (2005). Bioseguridad en granjas avícolas. Revista Electrónica de Veterinaria, 6(2), 1-17.

Richards, G., Wilkins, L., Knowles, T., Booth, F., Toscano, M., Nicol, C., Brown, S., & Booth, F. (2011). Continuous monitoring of pop hole usage by commercially housed free-range hens throughout the production cycle. Veterinary. Record, 169(13), 338.

Ruiz, B. (2017). Peculiaridades de la industria avícola en el 2016. Industria Avícola, 64(3), 14-34.

Sandilans, V. (2016). Chicken behaviour and welfare. Online Course. University of Edimburgh.

Salatin, J. (1996). Pastured Poultry Profit. Polyface Inc, Swoope.

Sapag, N., & Sapag, R. (2008). Preparación y evaluación de proyectos (5ta Ed.). McGraw-Hill Interamericana S.A.

Secretaria Ejecutiva de Planificación Sectorial Agropecuaria. (2018). Boletín estadístico agropecuario (Serie cronológica 2014-2017, 28 Ed.). Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería.

Singh, M., & Cowieson, A. J. (2013). Range use and pasture consumption in free-range poultry production. Animal Production Science, 53(11), 1202-1208.

Soler, D. M., & Fonseca J. A. (2011). Producción sostenible de pollo de engorde y gallina ponedora campesina: revisión bibliográfica y propuesta de un modelo para pequeños productores. Revista de Investigación Agraria y Ambiental, 2(1), 29-43.

Sumner, D. A., Gow, H., Hayes, D., Mathews, W., Norwood, B., Rosen-Molina, J., & Thurman, W. (2011). Economic and market issues on the sustainability of egg production in the United States: Analysis of alternative production systems. Poultry Science, 90(1), 241-250.

Vargas, R. A. (2001). Producción de pollos de engorde bajo un sistema de pastoreo en el trópico húmedo de Costa Rica [Tesis de Licenciatura, no publicada]. Universidad Earth.



How to Cite

Cruz Bermúdez, A., WingChing Jones, R., & Zamora Sanabria, R. (2021). Egg production feasibility in laying hen with access to grazing. Agronomía Mesoamericana, 32(2), 573–586.

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.