- Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Kalmendal, Robin; Wall, Helena
Poultry may obtain fiber from the feed or from the ingestion of, e. g., fibrous litter materials. In earlier studies, it was shown that insoluble fiber may stimulate digestion and exert a calming effect on laying hens. Fiber may also influence the metabolism of minerals and fat, which might affect egg quality. In this paper, we describe the effects of 2 means of fiber supply on production performance, feather cover, and egg quality in Lohmann Brown (LB) and Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) hens housed in furnished cages between 20 and 60 wk of age. Insoluble fiber was supplied by either including 3% ground straw pellets in the feed or by substituting the saw dust in the litter bath with crumbled straw pellets. Overall, hens were frequently pecking the litter, but litter bath occupation, litter pecking, and litter intake was higher in LB than in LSL. In LB, more crumbled straw pellets were consumed from the litter bath compared with saw dust. Compared with the control, adding straw pellets to the feed reduced egg shell thickness in LB but not in LSL. Otherwise, treatments had no significant effects on production performance, egg quality, or feather cover. Therefore, litter may constitute a significant source of insoluble fiber to laying hens, but notable hybrid differences in the interaction with litter were observed.
layer; insoluble fiber; production performance; egg quality; feather cover
Journal of Applied Poultry Research
2013, Volume: 22, number: 1, pages: 109-117
Publisher: POULTRY SCIENCE ASSOC INC
Animal and Dairy Science