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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Live black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae in feed for laying hens: effects on hen gut microbiota and behavior

Huang, Chenxuan; Hernandez, Carlos E.; Wall, Helena; Tahamtani, Fernanda M.; Ivarsson, Emma; Sun, Li


This study examined the effects of including live black soldier fly (BSF, Hermetia illucens) larvae in the diet of laying hens on gut microbiota, and the association between microbiota and fearfulness. A total of 40 Bovans White laying hens were individually housed and fed 1 of 4 dietary treatments that provided 0, 10, 20%, or ad libitum daily dietary portions of live BSF larvae for 12 wk. Cecum microbiota was collected at the end of the experiment and sequenced. Behavioral fear responses to novel objects and open field tests on the same hens were compared against results from gut microbiota analyses. The results showed that the bacteria genera Enterococcus, Parabacteroides, and Ruminococcus torques group were positively associated with increased dietary portion of live larvae, while Lactobacillus, Faecalibacterium, Bifidobacterium, Subdoligranulum, and Butyricicoccus were negatively associated with larvae in the diet. Inclusion of larvae did not affect fear behavior, but the relative abundance of Lachnospiraceae CHKCI001 and Erysipelatoclostridium was associated with fear -related behaviors. Further studies are needed to determine whether the change in gut microbiota affects fearfulness in the long-term.


live black soldier fly larvae; microbiota; behavior; laying hen

Published in

Poultry Science
2024, Volume: 103, number: 3, article number: 103429Publisher: ELSEVIER