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Probiotics in Drinking Water Alleviate Stress of Induced Molting in Feed-deprived Laying Hens

  • Khajali, Fariborz ;
  • Karimi, S. ;
  • Qujeq, D.
  • Received : 2007.12.29
  • Accepted : 2008.03.04
  • Published : 2008.08.01

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to evaluate the physiological changes of laying hens subjected to feed removal during induced molting while received probiotics in the drinking water. Post-molt performance and egg quality criteria were also studied. Ninety 78-week-old Hy-line W36 laying hens were divided into two treatment groups according to equal body weight and subjected to induced molting by continuous feed removal until around 30% BW reduction. The experiment lasted 12 wks consisting of 4-wk molting and 8-wk post-molt periods. Treatment 1 received no probiotics and was considered as the control. Treatment 2 was similar to the control except that hens received probiotics in the drinking water at 400 mg/L during feed deprivation. The results indicated that hens in both groups went out of production by Day 5. However, hens received probiotics reached 5 and 50% egg production sooner than the control (30 and 52 days vs. 31 and 54 days). Starvation during molting increased heterophil to lymphocyte (H/L) ratio, hematocrit and plasma T4 and $Na^+$ levels while plasma T3 and Cl- levels were decreased. Probiotics had no significant impact on BW reduction during molt. Post-molt egg production and egg mass were higher in hens which previously received probiotics, but these responses were not significant. However, feed conversion ratio was significantly better in hens which received probiotics. Hematocrit, plasma thyroid hormone concentrations (T3 and T4) and plasma $Na^+$, $K^+$ and Cl- levels during molting were not significantly influenced by supplementation of probiotics. However, H/L ratio showed a significant (p<0.05) reduction in birds which received probiotics suggesting beneficial effects of this product for feed-deprived laying hens. No significant difference was observed in post-molt egg quality criteria.

Keywords

Feed Deprivation;Laying Hens;Molting;Probiotics

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Acknowledgement

Supported by : Shahekord University