Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Poultry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2021) | Viewed by 48607

Special Issue Editor

School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Nr Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK
Interests: poultry; eggs; nutrition; physiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Eggs have important roles in agriculture, both in producing the next generation of poultry, and as a nutritious, sustainable, and economical food source for human populations. Egg production is a demanding process for contemporary, genetically improved laying fowl, and can be exacerbated by disease and environmental conditions. Recently there has been interest in extending the length of laying cycles in chickens. The consequences of high egg production rates for poultry under suboptimal conditions and in older birds include poor egg quality and safety, and diminished welfare and health. The nutrition and management of the environment have critical roles to play in supporting high-egg-producing animals in challenging conditions.

This Special Issue seeks to report on the recent original research findings and reviews related to all poultry species on supporting egg production as well as animal health and welfare through greater understanding of nutrition and management.

Dr. Cormac O'Shea
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • poultry
  • chickens
  • hens
  • ducks
  • geese
  • turkey
  • quail
  • egg
  • nutrition
  • management

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 414 KiB  
Article
Changes in Fatty Acids Profile, Health Indices, and Physical Characteristics of Organic Eggs from Laying Hens at the Beginning of the First and Second Laying Cycles
Animals 2022, 12(1), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010125 - 05 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2178
Abstract
The present study compared the fatty acid profile and some physical parameters of eggs from hens reared according to the organic system at the beginning of the first and second laying cycle. A total of 1080 eggs were analysed at the beginning of [...] Read more.
The present study compared the fatty acid profile and some physical parameters of eggs from hens reared according to the organic system at the beginning of the first and second laying cycle. A total of 1080 eggs were analysed at the beginning of the first (from the 28th to 30th week of age) and the second (from the 78th to 80th week of age) laying cycle. It was found that the hen ages influenced the egg weight, egg surface area, yolk proportion, and eggshell colour. Albumen and eggshell proportion, albumen, yolk index, Haugh unit score, and eggshell strength were lower in eggs from older hens compared with those produced from younger layers. Monounsaturated fatty acids were found in higher amounts than saturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids in egg yolks of eggs from layers only at the beginning of the second laying cycle. The PUFAn-6/n-3 ratio, saturation, atherogenic, and thrombogenic indices were significantly lower in the egg yolks from older hens compared to younger layers. These findings (regarding the eggs from the older ones) prove that it is practical to utilize them in the organic farming system during a period of two years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
11 pages, 2488 KiB  
Article
Phosphorus Restriction in Brooding Stage Has Continuous Effects on Growth Performance and Early Laying Performance of Layers
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123546 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2022
Abstract
This study evaluated the effects of phosphorus restriction in the brooding stage and subsequent recovery on growth performance, tibia development and early laying performance of layers. 360 one-day-old hens were randomly divided into 4 groups with 6 replicates and 15 chicks per replicate. [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the effects of phosphorus restriction in the brooding stage and subsequent recovery on growth performance, tibia development and early laying performance of layers. 360 one-day-old hens were randomly divided into 4 groups with 6 replicates and 15 chicks per replicate. Chicks were fed diets containing 0.13% (L), 0.29% (M), 0.45% (N), 0.59% (H) non-phytate phosphorus (nPP) from 1 to 8 weeks of age. From 9 to 20 weeks of age, the L and N group were divided into two groups fed normal level phosphorus (n, 0.39% nPP) and high-level phosphorus (h, 0.45% nPP) separately, then all the birds were fed a normal diet (0.39% nPP) from 21 to 26 weeks of age. Four treatments were tested: Ln, Lh, Nn, and Nh. The lower body weight, average daily feed intake, tibia length and daily tibial increment were observed in the L group (p < 0.05) and the ratio of feed to gain was significantly increased in the L group at 8 weeks of age (p < 0.05). In addition, the fresh and degreased tibia weight, bone ash, Ca content in the tibia and P content in the ash and tibia were significantly decreased in the L group at 8 weeks of age (p < 0.05). After compensatory processes, there was no significant difference in tibia characters; however, body weight in the Ln group was significantly lower than in the Nn group (p < 0.05) and was significantly lower in the Lh group than the Nn group (p < 0.01) and Nh group (p < 0.05). In addition, the laying rate and average daily egg mass in the Lh group were lower than Nn and Nh (p < 0.05). In conclusion, severe dietary phosphorus restriction impaired growth performance and bone mineralization in the brooding stage. Subsequent phosphorus supplementation could not alleviate this adverse effect on body weight, which continued to affect egg production. These findings give a foundation and new perspective on a low phosphorus feeding strategy in layer production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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11 pages, 1377 KiB  
Article
Performance, Carcass Yield, Muscle Amino Acid Profile, and Levels of Brain Neurotransmitters in Aged Laying Hens Fed Diets Supplemented with Guanidinoacetic Acid
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113091 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1673
Abstract
Guanidinoacetic acid (GA) is a natural precursor of creatine in the body and is usually used to improve the feed conversion and cellular energy metabolism of broiler chickens. The objective was to elucidate the effect of dietary supplementation of GA on carcass yield, [...] Read more.
Guanidinoacetic acid (GA) is a natural precursor of creatine in the body and is usually used to improve the feed conversion and cellular energy metabolism of broiler chickens. The objective was to elucidate the effect of dietary supplementation of GA on carcass yield, muscle amino acid profile, and concentrations of brain neurotransmitters in laying hens. In total, 128 72-week-old ISA Brown laying hens were assigned to four equal groups (32 birds, eight replicates per group). The control group (T1) was fed a basal diet with no supplements, while the other experimental groups were fed a basal diet supplemented with 0.5 (T2), 1.0 (T3), and 1.5 (T4) g GA kg−1 diet. The T3 and T4 groups showed higher hen-day egg production and carcass yield compared to the control group (p = 0.016 and 0.039, respectively). The serum creatine level increased linearly with the increased level of dietary GA (p = 0.007). Among the essential amino acids of breast muscle, a GA-supplemented diet linearly increased the levels of leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, methionine, and threonine in the breast (p = 0.003, 0.047, 0.001, 0.001, and 0.015, respectively) and thigh (p = 0.026, 0.001, 0.020, 0.009, and 0.028, respectively) muscles. GA supplementation linearly reduced the level of brain serotonin compared to the control group (p = 0.010). Furthermore, supplementation of GA in the diet of laying hens linearly increased the level of brain dopamine (p = 0.011), but reduced the level of brain Gamma-aminobutyric acid (p = 0.027). Meanwhile, the concentration of brain nitric oxide did not differ between the experimental groups (p = 0.080). In conclusion, the dietary supplementation of GA may improve the carcass yield and levels of essential amino acids in the breast muscles, as well as the brain neurotransmitters in aged laying hens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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15 pages, 1222 KiB  
Article
The Response of Layer Hen Productivity and Egg Quality to an Additional Limestone Source When Offered Diets Differing in Calcium Concentrations and the Inclusion of Phytase
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102991 - 18 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2316
Abstract
Laying hens require substantial quantities of calcium (Ca) to maintain egg production. However, maintaining recommended dietary Ca through inclusion of limestone may impede nutrient digestibility, including that of other minerals. It was hypothesized that providing a separate source of dietary Ca in the [...] Read more.
Laying hens require substantial quantities of calcium (Ca) to maintain egg production. However, maintaining recommended dietary Ca through inclusion of limestone may impede nutrient digestibility, including that of other minerals. It was hypothesized that providing a separate source of dietary Ca in the form of limestone grit would preserve Ca intake of hens offered diets containing suboptimal Ca concentrations. Furthermore, the impact of dietary phytase at a “superdosing” inclusion rate on the voluntary consumption of limestone grit was evaluated. One hundred and forty-four laying hens (19 weeks of age) were assigned to one of six dietary treatments in a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement comprising three dietary Ca concentrations (40, 30, and 20 g/kg) and ±dietary phytase (3500 FYT/kg diet) on an ad libitum basis for six weeks. Limestone grit (3.4 ± 1.0 mm) was provided to all hens ad libitum. Hens offered diets containing phytase consumed significantly less limestone grit p = 0.024). Egg weight, rate of lay, and egg mass were unaffected by dietary treatment (p > 0.05). Egg shell weight % (p < 0.001), shell thickness (p < 0.001), and shell breaking strength (p < 0.01) decreased in line with dietary Ca levels. In summary, dietary superdosing with phytase reduced the consumption of a separate limestone source in individually housed, early lay ISA Brown hens. Egg shell quality variables but not egg production worsened in line with lower dietary Ca levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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16 pages, 1800 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Valine Levels on Production Performance, Egg Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, Immunity, and Intestinal Amino Acid Absorption of Laying Hens during the Peak Lay Period
Animals 2021, 11(7), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071972 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4781
Abstract
The present study aimed to assess the impact of dietary valine levels on layer production performance, egg quality, immunity, and intestinal amino acid absorption of laying hens during the peak lay period. For this purpose, a total of 960 33-week-old Fengda No.1 laying [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to assess the impact of dietary valine levels on layer production performance, egg quality, immunity, and intestinal amino acid absorption of laying hens during the peak lay period. For this purpose, a total of 960 33-week-old Fengda No.1 laying hens were randomly divided into five experimental groups and fed with valine at the following different levels in a feeding trial that lasted 8 weeks: 0.59, 0.64, 0.69, 0.74, and 0.79%, respectively. Productive performances were recorded throughout the whole rearing cycle and the egg quality, serum indexes, and small intestine transporters expression were assessed at the end of the experiment after slaughter (41 weeks) on 12 hens per group. Statistical analysis was conducted by one-way ANOVA followed by LSD multiple comparison tests with SPSS 20.0 (SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA). The linear and quadratic effects were tested by SPSS 20.0. Egg mass, laying rate, broken egg rate, and feed conversion ratio were significantly improved with increasing dietary valine levels. However, the egg weight, eggshell thickness, albumen height, Haugh unit, and egg yolk color were significantly decreased with increasing dietary valine levels. Serum catalase (CAT), immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgM levels, and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were negative responses to valine-treated laying hens. Dietary supplemented valine enhanced the trypsin activity of duodenum chime and promoted the mRNA expression levels of ATB0,+, and LAT4 in the jejunum and corresponding serum free Ile, Lys, Phe, Val, and Tyr level. However, valine treatment significantly downregulated the mRNA expression levels of PePT1, B0AT1, LAT1, and SNAT2 in the small intestines and corresponding serum free Arg, His, Met, Thr, Ala, Asp, Glu, Gly, and Ser level. Our results suggest that 0.79% valine dietary supplementation can improve production performance by promoting amino acid nutrient uptake and utilization, and suggest a supplement of 0.79% valine to diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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13 pages, 474 KiB  
Article
Laying Performance, Egg Quality Characteristics, and Egg Yolk Fatty Acids Profile in Layer Hens Housed with Free Access to Chicory- and/or White Clover-Vegetated or Non-Vegetated Areas
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1708; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061708 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4326
Abstract
This study investigated the laying performance, egg quality, and egg yolk fatty acids (FAs) and cholesterol content in layer hens housed with free access to chicory- and/or white clover-vegetated areas. During a 16-week study, 400 Lohmann Brown hens (32 weeks old) housed with [...] Read more.
This study investigated the laying performance, egg quality, and egg yolk fatty acids (FAs) and cholesterol content in layer hens housed with free access to chicory- and/or white clover-vegetated areas. During a 16-week study, 400 Lohmann Brown hens (32 weeks old) housed with free outdoor access were allocated randomly into four groups, each with four replicates of 25 hens. Control hens were fed a conventional diet with free access to a soil area (C), whereas other hens were fed on a conventional diet with free access to a chicory (CI)- or white clover (TR)-vegetated area or a CI and TR mixture (MIX)-vegetated area. The C hens consumed more concentrate feed (p = 0.018) than the TR and MIX hens, which had a higher herbage intake than the CI birds (p < 0.001). The C hens produced eggs with a thicker shell than those in the other treatment groups (p = 0.013). Compared with C, the saturated FAs of egg yolk decreased for MIX (p = 0.010). The polyunsaturated FAs were higher in the MIX eggs than in the C and TR eggs (p < 0.001). Although FAs were distributed in all quadrants of the principal component analysis (PCA), three main FA profiles could be identified based on the loadings of natural groupings in the PC2 versus PC1 plot. The present study shows clear evidence for the contribution of herbage to the hen diet without affecting laying performance. In addition, the FA composition of the CI and MIX vegetation contributed to the production of eggs with preferred FA attributes, such as polyunsaturated FAs and a favourable n-6 to n-3 ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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17 pages, 7596 KiB  
Article
Early Nutrition with Different Diets Composition versus Fasting on Immunity-Related Gene Expression and Histomorphology of Digestive and Lymphoid Organs of Layer-Type Chicks
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061568 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2942
Abstract
Early feeding post-hatching (EFPH) can impact the immune response and modify the immunity-related gene expression. Therefore, we aimed to examine the effects of EFPH with different diets composition versus fasting during the first 72 h of chick’s life on the histomorphological structures of [...] Read more.
Early feeding post-hatching (EFPH) can impact the immune response and modify the immunity-related gene expression. Therefore, we aimed to examine the effects of EFPH with different diets composition versus fasting during the first 72 h of chick’s life on the histomorphological structures of the liver, proventriculus, central and peripheral lymphoid organs, and immunity-related genes in layer-type chicks during the brooding period. A total of 400 chicks were randomly allotted into 4 groups with 4 replicates each. The experimental groups during the first 72 h of life were: feed and water deprivation (control, T1), feeding a starter layer diet (20% CP and 11.84 MJ/kg ME, T2), feeding a starter layer diet contained 3% molasses in its composition (20% CP and 11.81 MJ/kg ME; T3), and feeding a starter broiler diet (23% CP and 12.68 MJ/kg ME, T4). After the first 72 h of chick’s life, all chicks were fed ad libitum the T2 diet. EFPH had no negative effect on the development of the lymphoid or digestive organs in chicks. Greater relative weights of the spleen and bursa of Fabricius (p < 0.05) were observed in the early fed chicks compared to control at day 14 of age. Histomorphological examination revealed an increase (p < 0.05) in thymus cortex and cortex:medulla in the T3 and T4 groups compared to the fasted ones at day 28 of age. Pelicae height, follicular width, cortex, and cortex:medulla of bursa were improved (p < 0.01) in the fed groups compared to fasted chicks, with resultant influences on the primary lymphoid organs. Compared to control, higher germinal center areas and white pulp of the spleen (p < 0.05) were recorded in the early fed chicks, implying augmented proliferation and maturation of B cells in the secondary lymphoid organs. In the liver, a strong positive reaction to Best’s carmine stain in the early fed groups, indicating that the liver of these chicks had numerous glycogen granules or greater glycogen density in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes. There was a significant enhancement in the proventriculus mucosal and gland thickness, as well as fold height (p < 0.05) in the early fed chicks. The expression levels of splenic Toll-like receptor 2, interleukin 4, tumor necrosis factor α, and interferon gamma were up-regulated (p < 0.01) in most of the early fed chicks (T2, T3, and T4) compared to fasted ones at 14 day of age. In conclusion, EFPH could modify the splenic-immunity related genes and modulate the histomorphology of the digestive (liver and proventriculus) and lymphoid organs in layer-type chicks during the brooding period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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11 pages, 222 KiB  
Article
Effect of Dietary Supplementation of Fermented Pine Needle Extract on Productive Performance, Egg Quality, and Serum Lipid Parameters in Laying Hens
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051475 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the supplemental effects of fermented pine (Pinus densiflora) needle extract (FPNE) in laying hen diets on productive performance, egg quality, and serum lipid metabolites. A total of 108 40-week-old Hy-line brown laying hens were randomly assigned [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the supplemental effects of fermented pine (Pinus densiflora) needle extract (FPNE) in laying hen diets on productive performance, egg quality, and serum lipid metabolites. A total of 108 40-week-old Hy-line brown laying hens were randomly assigned to one of the three dietary treatment groups: (1) basal diet + 0 mL FPNE/kg diet (CON), (2) basal diet + 2.5 mL FPNE/kg diet (T1), or (3) basal diet + 5 mL FPNE/kg diet (T2) for 6 weeks. Each group consisted of four replicates of nine hens each. Feed and water provided ad libitum. Results showed that dietary supplementation of FPNE increased egg production percentage (linear, p < 0.01 and quadratic, p < 0.05), egg mass (linear, p < 0.05), and feed intake (linear, p < 0.05) during the entire experimental period. In addition, dietary inclusion of FPNE significantly increased the eggshell color (linear, p < 0.01), egg yolk color (quadratic, p < 0.01), and eggshell breaking strength (linear, p < 0.05 and quadratic, p < 0.05) while the Haugh unit decreased (quadratic, p < 0.05). However, serum lipid profile did not differ among the dietary treatments (p > 0.05). Notably, antioxidant activity of egg yolk was improved by significantly decreasing the malondialdehyde content in egg yolks after 6 weeks of storage (linear, p < 0.001 and quadratic, p < 0.05). In summary, dietary inclusion of FPNE could improve laying performance and the antioxidant capacity of eggs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
10 pages, 265 KiB  
Article
Moringa oleifera Leaves as Eco-Friendly Feed Additive in Diets of Hy-Line Brown Hens during the Late Laying Period
Animals 2021, 11(4), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041116 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3440
Abstract
This study investigated the dietary effects of Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation on egg quality, laying performance, excreta ammonia concentrations and serum biochemistry of laying chickens during the late laying period. A total of 240 64-week-old Hy-Line Brown hens were assigned to four treatment [...] Read more.
This study investigated the dietary effects of Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation on egg quality, laying performance, excreta ammonia concentrations and serum biochemistry of laying chickens during the late laying period. A total of 240 64-week-old Hy-Line Brown hens were assigned to four treatment diets including Moringa oleifera leaves at 0, 3, 6 or 9 g/kg, respectively, for eight weeks. The treatments had twelve replicates with five hens each. The results revealed that incremental dietary Moringa oleifera leaves significantly increased (p < 0.01) egg weight, production, and mass through 64–68, 68–72 and 64–72 weeks of age. Simultaneously, feed conversion ratio was significantly improved (p < 0.01) with Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation compared with the control. Haugh units and the thickness of eggshells significantly improved as a response to diets supplemented with 3, 6 and 9 g/kg Moringa oleifera leaves at 72 weeks of age. Interestingly, excreta ammonia concentrations, serum cholesterol, aspartate transaminase and alanine aminotransferase significantly decreased by Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation compared with the control group. In conclusion, introducing Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation at 3, 6 and 9 g/kg increased egg production, eggshell quality, Haugh units, and decreased serum cholesterol, triglycerides, excreta ammonia concentrations besides serum liver enzymes, uric acid and creatinine. Overall, based on the observed results, Moringa oleifera leaves supplementation was very promising and these leaves could be used as an effective feed additive in laying hens’ diet during the late laying period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
12 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Effects of Maternal and Progeny Dietary Vitamin E on Growth Performance and Antioxidant Status of Progeny Chicks before and after Egg Storage
Animals 2021, 11(4), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040998 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1598
Abstract
Two trials were conducted to investigate the effects of maternal and progeny dietary vitamin E (VE) supplementation on the growth performance and antioxidant status of offspring before and after egg storage. A total of 576 75-week-old Ross 308 breeder hens were assigned to [...] Read more.
Two trials were conducted to investigate the effects of maternal and progeny dietary vitamin E (VE) supplementation on the growth performance and antioxidant status of offspring before and after egg storage. A total of 576 75-week-old Ross 308 breeder hens were assigned to three dietary VE treatments (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg) with 6 replicates of 32 hens for 12 weeks. Two trials were conducted with offspring hatched from eggs laid at weeks 9 and 12 of breeder feeding trial, respectively. Trial 1 was conducted by a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments with three levels of maternal dietary VE (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg) and two levels of progeny dietary VE (0 and 35 mg/kg). Trial 2 was conducted with three maternal dietary VE treatment (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg), and chicks were hatched from eggs stored for 14 d and received the same progeny diet with no addition of VE. Results showed that in trial 1, maternal (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg) and progeny (0 and 35 mg/kg) dietary VE supplementation did not affect the growth performance of offspring hatched from unstored eggs (p > 0.05). In trial 2, in the case of long-term egg storage, maternal dietary VE supplementation of 200 and 400 mg/kg increased the body weight (BW) of 21- and 42-d-old offspring and the body weight gain (BWG) of offspring from 1 to 21 d (p < 0.05), and decreased the feed conversion ratio (FCR) of offspring from 1 to 21 d (p < 0.05) compared to 100 mg/kg VE. As the maternal dietary VE levels increased, the liver and serum antioxidant status of offspring enhanced (p < 0.05). In conclusion, maternal dietary VE supplementation of 200 or 400 mg/kg could improve the growth performance and anti-oxidant status of offspring hatched from stored eggs, but not for that of offspring hatched from unstored eggs. The suitable VE level for the broiler breeder diet was 400 mg/kg in the case of long-term egg storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
11 pages, 981 KiB  
Article
Relation between Feed Particle Size Distribution and Plumage Condition in Laying Hens on Commercial Farms
Animals 2021, 11(3), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030773 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3095
Abstract
In this cross-sectional study, 103 complete feed samples from laying hen herds affected by plumage damage as an indirect measure for severe feather pecking (affected herds; AH, n = 37) and control herds without plumage damage (control herd; CH, n = 66) of [...] Read more.
In this cross-sectional study, 103 complete feed samples from laying hen herds affected by plumage damage as an indirect measure for severe feather pecking (affected herds; AH, n = 37) and control herds without plumage damage (control herd; CH, n = 66) of commercial German farms were examined by dry sieve and nutrient analysis. AH showed higher percentages of particles >2.50 mm (mean ± SD, CH: 11.0 ± 8.5%, AH: 24.9 ± 14.3%) and 2.00–2.50 mm (CH: 11.2 ± 5.3%, AH: 15.7 ± 5.7%), but lower proportions of fractions 1.01–1.60 mm (CH: 22.9 ± 4.9%, AH: 17.8 ± 5.7%), 0.51–1.00 mm (CH: 25.5 ± 8.2%, AH: 16.0 ± 6.8%) and ≤0.50 mm (CH: 15.4 ± 5.0%, AH: 11.0 ± 4.8%) (p < 0.001). Diets of AH had a higher geometric mean diameter (GMD) compared to CH (AH: 1470.8 ± 343.9 μm; CH: 1113.3 ± 225.7 μm) (p < 0.001). Contents of crude ash (CH: 130.3 ± 18.8 g/kg, AH: 115.9 ± 24.3 g/kg), lysine (CH: 8.2 ± 1.0 g/kg, AH: 7.7 ± 1.2 g/kg), methionine (CH: 3.4 ± 0.5 g/kg, AH: 3.2 ± 0.6 g/kg) and sodium (CH: 1.7 ± 0.4 g/kg, AH: 1.3 ± 0.4 g/kg) were lower in AH (p ≤ 0.041). In a logistic regression model, animal age (p = 0.041) and GMD (p < 0.001) were significant factors on the occurrence of plumage damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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8 pages, 366 KiB  
Communication
Effects of Dietary Indole-3-Acetate Sodium on Laying Performance, Egg Quality, Serum Hormone Levels and Biochemical Parameters of Danzhou Chickens
Animals 2021, 11(3), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030619 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2021
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of indole-3-acetate sodium (IAA-Na) inclusion in diets on the egg production performance, egg quality, intestinal tissue morphology, serum hormone levels and biochemical parameters of Danzhou chickens to preliminarily explore the efficacy of IAA-Na as a [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of indole-3-acetate sodium (IAA-Na) inclusion in diets on the egg production performance, egg quality, intestinal tissue morphology, serum hormone levels and biochemical parameters of Danzhou chickens to preliminarily explore the efficacy of IAA-Na as a feed additive. A total of 192 Danzhou chickens (50 weeks old) were randomly assigned to 2 groups of 96. The diets for the treatment group consisted of the basal diets, supplemented with IAA-Na (200 mg/kg). The formal feeding trial lasted for four weeks. The results showed that the feed supplemented with IAA-Na not only increased the laying rate (p < 0.05) and egg yolk ratio (0.05 < p < 0.1), but also significantly reduced the feed:egg ratio (p < 0.05). In addition, the dietary supplementation of IAA-Na significantly increased the serum estradiol levels (p < 0.05) and decreased serum alkaline phosphatase activity (p < 0.05). Compared with the control group, the addition of IAA-Na to the diet had no significant effect on the intestinal tissue morphology or serum antioxidant capacity of Danzhou chickens. This study preliminarily provides evidence that dietary IAA-Na can improve laying performance, indicating that IAA-Na is a potentially effective feed additive for laying hens, but further studies are required before arriving at definite conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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11 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Effect of Bacterial or Fungal Phytase Supplementation on the Performance, Egg Quality, Plasma Biochemical Parameters, and Reproductive Morphology of Laying Hens
Animals 2021, 11(2), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020540 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2901
Abstract
Catalytic and physicochemical properties of microbial phytase sources may differ, affecting phosphorus (P) release and subsequently the productive and reproductive performance of layers. The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of bacterial and fungal phytase sources on layer productivity, egg production, biochemical [...] Read more.
Catalytic and physicochemical properties of microbial phytase sources may differ, affecting phosphorus (P) release and subsequently the productive and reproductive performance of layers. The current study aimed to evaluate the impact of bacterial and fungal phytase sources on layer productivity, egg production, biochemical blood indices, and reproductive morphology. For this purpose, 360 Bovans brown hens at 42 weeks of age were randomly allocated into 4 experimental groups, each with 15 replicates of 6 hens. The first group (control) was fed a basal diet with 4.6 g/kg available P. In contrast, the second, third, and fourth groups were fed diets treated with 3.2 g/kg available P, supplemented with either 5000 FTU/kg of bacterial E. coli (QuantumTM Blue 5G), fungal Aspergillus niger (VemoZyme® F 5000 Naturally Thermostable Phytase (NTP)), or fungal Trichodermareesei (Yemzim® FZ100). Dietary supplementation of bacterial and fungal phytases did not affect the productive performance or egg quality criteria, except for increased shell weight and thickness (p < 0.05). Serum hepatic function biomarkers and lipid profiles were not altered in treated hens, while calcium and P levels were increased (p < 0.05) related to the controls. Ovary index and length, and relative weight of oviduct and its segments were not influenced. The contents of cholesterol and malondialdehyde in the yolks from treated birds were lower compared to control hens, while calcium and P content increased (p < 0.05). Conclusively, bacterial and fungal phytase sources can compensate for the reduction of available P in layers’ diets and enhance shell and yolk quality without affecting productive performance, and no differences among them were noticed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
17 pages, 1053 KiB  
Article
Managing Free-Range Laying Hens—Part B: Early Range Users Have More Pathology Findings at the End of Lay but Have a Significantly Higher Chance of Survival—An Indicative Study
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1911; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101911 - 18 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2829
Abstract
While free-range laying hens frequently experience health and welfare challenges, the contribution of range use towards these risks are largely unknown. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the survival, health and welfare of commercial free-range laying hens and explore the [...] Read more.
While free-range laying hens frequently experience health and welfare challenges, the contribution of range use towards these risks are largely unknown. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the survival, health and welfare of commercial free-range laying hens and explore the association with early range use. Range use of 9375 Lohmann Brown hens housed within five flocks was assessed during 18–21 weeks of age and individual hens were classified as “rangers” (frequent range users), “roamers” (intermittent range users), and “stayers” (rare/no range users) were then subject to necropsy at 74 weeks of age. Rangers and roamers were three times and 2.4 times more likely to survive than stayers, respectively (p = 0.001). Overall, rangers had significantly better feather cover and more lesions associated with spotty liver diseases compared to roamers and stayers (p = 0.001). Similarly, rangers and roamers had a higher prevalence of A. galli infection and less frequent signs of fatty liver syndrome compared to stayers. Rangers had a higher proportion of hens with full ovary follicle production compared to stayers and roamers (p = 0.035). This information is highly relevant to consider the targeted support of different flock subpopulations to improve hen health and welfare, directly affecting farm profitability. Further research on other farms is warranted to investigate the transferability of the observed results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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12 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Effects of Varying Dietary DL-Methionine Levels on Productive and Reproductive Performance, Egg Quality, and Blood Biochemical Parameters of Quail Breeders
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101839 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2971
Abstract
The present study was carried out to study the effects of varying dietary DL-methionine (0, 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 g/kg) levels on the productive and reproductive performance, egg quality and blood biochemical parameters of quail breeders. In total, 150 mature Japanese quails [...] Read more.
The present study was carried out to study the effects of varying dietary DL-methionine (0, 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 g/kg) levels on the productive and reproductive performance, egg quality and blood biochemical parameters of quail breeders. In total, 150 mature Japanese quails at eight weeks of age were randomly allotted to five groups of 30 for each group. Each group included five replicates, each of six quails (four females and two males). The results showed that egg number, egg weight and egg mass were higher (p < 0.05) with the addition of all DL-methionine levels than that of the control group. Quails from the control group had a lower feed intake (p < 0.001) and a worse feed conversion ratio (FCR) than those from the DL-methionine-treated groups. Supplementation of DL-methionine up to 2.5 g/kg in quail diets increased fertility and hatchability percentages. Birds fed DL-methionine at 1.5 g/kg had the best egg production indices, better FCR and the highest values of fertility and hatchability. Egg weight, yolk %, Haugh unit, egg shape index and unit surface shell weight (USSW) were increased and eggshell % was decreased in quail supplemented with DL-methionine levels compared with the control quail (p < 0.05). Dietary DL-methionine levels did not affect (p > 0.05) the hemoglobin (Hb), red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and packed cell volume (PCV) of quails. DL-methionine levels (0.5 and 2.5 g/kg) augmented lymphocytes and basophile (p < 0.05). Low DL-methionine levels (0.5 or 1.5 g/kg) improved liver enzymes and kidney functions. Dietary DL-methionine levels (except 3.5 g/kg) declined serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and decreased lipid profile parameters (except high-density lipoprotein—HDL). Supplementation of DL-methionine at 0.5 and 1.5 g/kg increased immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM and IgA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), catalase (CAT) and reduced glutathione (GSH) (p < 0.001) compared with the control. In conclusion, dietary supplementation of DL-methionine (1.5 g/kg) can enhance the reproductive performance and egg quality of quail breeders. DL-methionine use at levels of 0.5 or 1.5 g/kg improved the liver and kidney functions, lipid profile, immunity and antioxidant parameters of Japanese quail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
14 pages, 1400 KiB  
Article
Variation and Association of Hen Performance and Egg Quality Traits in Individual Early-Laying ISA Brown Hens
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091601 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4524
Abstract
Uniformity in hen and egg traits is an important consideration in commercial layer flocks. There is little information on how individual hen feed consumption and body weight affect egg quality measurements. This study investigated the variation in performance traits of individual hens and [...] Read more.
Uniformity in hen and egg traits is an important consideration in commercial layer flocks. There is little information on how individual hen feed consumption and body weight affect egg quality measurements. This study investigated the variation in performance traits of individual hens and associations with egg quality characteristics. Four hundred and fifty-five ISA Brown caged hens in early lay were monitored for 42 days (25 to 30 weeks of age) to collect hen feed consumption and egg production measurements. Forty-four hens from the flock were randomly selected and eggs were collected from the same hen once weekly for albumen, yolk, and shell assessment. The means ± standard deviation of average daily feed intake (ADFI), albumen height, initial body weight (IBW), and final body weight (FBW) were 124 g ± 15, 10.3 mm ± 1.5, 1802 g ± 129, and 2000 g ± 175, respectively. Albumen height was not associated with ADFI (r = 0.18, p = 0.21), IBW (r = −0.04, p = 0.79), or FBW (r = −0.06, p = 0.69). This study showed variation in feed intake, body weight, and albumen quality of individual early-lay hens. Feed intake and body weight did not influence albumen quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Management of Egg-Laying Poultry)
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