stringTEST
Early Postmolt Performance of Laying Hens Fed a Low-Protein Corn Molt Diet - Poultry [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Poultry
Illinois Livestock Trail
FULL TEXT PAPER
Early Postmolt Performance of Laying Hens Fed a Low-Protein Corn Molt Diet
by K. W. Koelkebeck1, C. M. Parsons, M.W. Douglas, R. W. Leeper, S. Jin, X. Wang, Y. Zhang, and S. Fernandez


RUNNING HEAD: SPENT HEN MEAL IN MOLT DIETS

Section: Metabolism and Nutrition Abbreviation

Key: SHM = spent hen meal

Received for publication Accepted for publication

To whom correspondence should be addressed: 132 Animal Sciences Laboratory, 1207 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, Illinois 61801, phone: 217-244-0195, fax: 217-333-7861, e-mail: kkoelkeb@uiuc.edu.

ABSTRACT

A total of 504 commercial Single Comb White Leghorn hens (69 and 65 wk of age) were utilized in each of two experiments and induced to molt by feed withdrawal only. Feed withdrawal lasted for 12 and 11 d, and hens lost 26 and 25% body weight in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. All hens were then weighed, and seven replicate groups of 12 hens each were assigned to molt diet treatments. In Experiment 1, diets consisted of a corn basal diet (7.9% CP) or corn basal diet supplemented with 7.5 or 10% spent hen meal (SHM) each from two different sources. In Experiment 2, the corn basal diet or this diet supplemented with 5 or 10% SHM alone or 5% SHM plus Met, Lys, and Trp was evaluated. A 16% CP corn-soybean meal molt diet was used as a positive control in both experiments.

Molt diets were fed for 15 d in both experiments, at which time all hens were fed a 16% CP layer diet. Performance was measured for 8 wk following the beginning of feeding the layer diet. Feeding the low-protein corn molt diet supplemented with 5 to 10% SHM improved early postmolt egg production performance and body weight gain compared with hens fed the corn basal diet alone, with 7.5 and 10% SHM diets yielding early postmolt performance that was not significantly different (P > 0.05) from that of hens fed the high protein (16% CP) diet. Supplementing the 5% SHM diet with amino acids generally did not significantly improve performance. The present study thus indicates that improved early postmolt performance may be achieved by supplementation of a low-protein corn molt diet with 5 to 10% SHM. (Key words: laying hens, postmolt performance, molting, spent hen meal, amino acids)

INTRODUCTION

There are numerous molting programs used in research and in the commercial layer industry. If the program is conducted properly, the productive life of a laying hen flock can be substantially increased. In research studies on molting programs, many have focused on the physical manipulation of the program itself as well as the nutritional recovery diet used. Previous research has examined the effects of protein level in the molt diet (Brake et al., 1979; Harms, 1983; Koelkebeck et al., 1991; 1993; 1999). In particular, these studies have shown that hens return to egg production faster when fed a high- vs low-protein corn molt diet. In addition, Koelkebeck et al. (1993; 1999) have shown that early postmolt laying hen performance may be enhanced by supplementation of a low-protein molt diet with high protein ingredients such as corn gluten meal and feather meal, or amino acids (Met and Lys).

During the past decade, there has been an increasing amount of interest in the utilization of spent hens by processing them into feedstuffs (Haque et al., 1991; Lyons and Vandepopuliere, 1996). Lyons and Vandepopuliere (1996) reported that extrusion-processed spent Leghorn hens resulted in a high-protein/high-energy ingredient that could be fed to broilers. More recently, Douglas et al. (1997), Kersey et al. (1997), and Kersey and Waldroup (1998) reported on the nutrient composition of rendered spent hen meal (SHM) and utilization of SHM in broiler diets. In the latter study, Kersey and Waldroup (1998) showed that inclusion of SHM in a broiler diet up to a level of 10% produced acceptable growth performance. There has been no published research on the effects of using SHM in molting diets for laying hens. Since rendered SHM has been shown to have high CP levels, it was of interest to evaluate the effects of supplementing a low-protein corn molt ration with SHM. Thus, it was the objective of this study to examine the effects of supplementing a low-protein molt ration with several levels of SHM alone and in combination with amino acids on early postmolt layer performance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Two experiments were conducted, each utilizing a total of 504 commercial Single Comb White Leghorn hens housed in a fan-ventilated cage-type facility. Feed and water were supplied ad libitum prior to initiation of each experiment, and a 17-h photoperiod was maintained throughout the experiments. The hens were induced to molt by feed withdrawal only (free access to water) for 12 and 11 d in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Feed withdrawal was initiated when the hens were 69 or 65 wk of age, and body weight loss at the end of the feed withdrawal period was 26 or 25% in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. This method used to induce a molt (length of feed withdrawal and percent body weight loss) was approved by our Laboratory Animal Care Committee. At the end of the feed withdrawal period, all hens were weighed and seven replicate groups of 12 hens each (four adjacent raised wire cages, 30 x 46 cm, containing three hens each) were assigned to each dietary molt treatment so that average body weights were similar among treatments. In both experiments, molt diets (Table 1) were fed at a rate of 83 g per hen per day for the first 2 d following the feed withdrawal period and then given ad libitum thereafter. Molt diets were fed for 15 d in both experiments until average egg production reached 10% when averaged over all treatments. At this time, all hens in both experiments were fed a 16% CP corn-soybean layer diet ad libitum (Table 1).

Postmolt performance was monitored for 8 wk following the initiation of feeding the layer diet. The molt diet treatments in both experiments were designed to evaluate the effects of supplementing a low-protein corn molt diet with several different levels and types of rendered SHM alone or in combination with Met, Lys, and Trp. The three SHM evaluated were SHM A, B, or a blend of SHM A, B, and C (33.3% each) from the study of Douglas et al. (1997) and complete nutritional descriptions are provided in that paper. In summary, the SHM A, B and C contained, respectively, on an as-fed basis: TMEn (kcal/kg), 2845, 2350, 3531; protein (%), 64.8, 55.9, 63.9; Lys (%), 4.19, 3.56, 4.28; Met (%), 1.28, 1.20, 1.38; Cys (%), 1.07, 0.84, 1.49. In Experiment 1, 7.5 and 10% SHM was used to provide a general total dietary CP level of 12 to 13% because a previous study (Koelkebeck et al., 1991) showed that these levels of CP yielded postmolt performance that was similar to a 16 or 17% CP corn-soybean meal diet. The levels of amino acid supplementation used in Experiment 2 were based on amino acid levels and responses in a previous study (Koelkebeck et al., 1993). The SHM A and B (Experiment 1) and blended SHM and amino acids (Experiment 2) were added to the basal diet in place of corn with Lys provided as L-Lys?HCl, Met as DL-Met, and Trp as L-Trp (Experiment 2). The levels of limestone and dicalcium phosphate were reduced as SHM was added to maintain a level of 2.0% Ca and 0.45% available P in all diets. The compositions of the individual experimental diets for Experiments 1 and 2 are shown in Table 1. The dietary molt treatments in Experiment 1 consisted of a basal corn diet (7.9% CP), the basal supplemented with 7.5 or 10% SHM A or B, and a 16% CP corn-soybean meal diet (positive control). In Experiment 2, the dietary molt treatments consisted of the corn basal diet (7.9% CP), the basal supplemented with 5 or 10% blended SHM alone, 5% blended SHM plus Met and Lys, 5% blended SHM plus Met, Lys, and Trp, or a 16% CP corn-soybean meal diet.

A detailed description of the nutritional composition and processing conditions for the SHM can be found in Douglas et al. (1997). In both experiments, body weights of all hens were measured each week for 3 wk following the start of feeding the molt diets. Egg production and mortality were recorded daily from the beginning of feeding the layer diet. Egg weight was measured each week on all eggs produced on 2 consecutive d. Egg yield (grams of egg per hen per day) was calculated using hen-day egg production and egg weight. Feed consumption was measured weekly and feed efficiency was calculated using egg yield and feed consumption. All data were analyzed by one-factor-ANOVA appropriate for a completely randomized design (Steel and Torrie, 1980). Significant differences among treatment means were determined with the Fisher's LSD test (Steel and Torrie, 1980).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Mortality averaged 1.2 and 2.0% from the beginning of the feed withdrawal period to the end of 8 wk on the layer diet in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Mortality did not differ significantly among treatments in either experiment. In Experiment 1, early egg production (Weeks 1 to 2) was greater (P < 0.05) for hens fed all SHM supplemented diets and 16% CP diet compared to those fed the corn basal diet (Table 2). In addition, early egg production of hens fed the SHM supplemented diets was comparable to hens fed the 16% CP corn-soybean meal diet. Hens fed the basal supplemented with SHM produced more eggs than hens fed the corn basal diet (Weeks 1 to 8). Body weight gain during each of the first 3 wk following the end of the feed withdrawal period was greater (P < 0.05) for hens fed the SHM supplemented diets and the 16% CP diet compared to those fed the corn diet (Table 2). In addition, body weight gain was not different (P > 0.05) for hens fed the corn basal supplemented with 7.5 and 10% SHM A, and 7.5% SHM B compared to those fed the 16% CP diet during the first wk following feed withdrawal. This response continued into the second wk following feed withdrawal for hens fed the basal supplemented with 10% SHM A compared to the positive control group (16% CP diet) and by the third week, there were no significant differences in body weight among the SHM diets and the 16% CP diet. Similar results occurred for egg weight and egg yield as for egg production in Experiment 1 (Table 2).

Early egg weight (Weeks 1 to 2 on the layer diet) was greater for hens fed all SHM supplemented diets and the 16% CP diet compared to the corn basal diet; however, egg weight for Weeks 1 to 8 was greater (P < 0.05) only for hens fed the basal supplemented with 7.5% SHM A and the 16% CP diet compared to those fed the corn basal diet alone. As a result of greater egg production and egg weight, egg yield was consistently greater (P < 0.05) for hens fed the SHM supplemented diets and 16% CP diet compared to those fed the basal diet (Weeks 1, 2, and 1 to 8). The results for feed efficiency for Weeks 1 to 8 were similar to that depicted for overall egg yield (Table 2). The egg weights, egg yields, and feed efficiencies of hens fed SHM supplemented molt diets were generally not significantly different (P > 0.05) from those of hens fed the 16% CP molt diet. In Experiment 2, supplementation of the corn basal diet with 5 or 10% SHM increased (P < 0.05) early egg production (Table 3).

Early egg production (Week 1), however, was greater (P < 0.05) for hens fed the 16% CP diet compared to hens fed the basal supplemented with 5% SHM alone or 5% SHM plus Met and Lys. Egg production was not significantly different (P > 0.05) for hens fed the basal supplemented with 5% SHM plus Met, Lys, and Trp, and 10% SHM compared to hens fed the 16% CP diet during Week 1. Egg production was the greatest (P < 0.05) for hens fed the 16% CP diet, intermediate for all SHM and amino acid supplemented diets and lowest for those fed the corn basal diet alone during Week 2. Similar egg production results occurred for Weeks 1 to 8 as was observed for the first wk. As observed for egg production, body weight gain following feed withdrawal was increased by supplementing the corn diet with 5 or 10% SHM (Table 3). Body weight gain following feed withdrawal was greater (P < 0.05) during the first wk for hens fed the basal supplemented with 10% SHM and the 16% CP diet compared to hens fed the basal alone or basal supplemented with 5% SHM (Table 3), with the SHM plus amino acid diets being intermediate. This response continued to the second wk following feed withdrawal; however, by the third wk body weight gain was greater (P < 0.05) only for hens fed the basal supplemented with 10% SHM and the 16% CP diet compared to hens fed the basal diet alone.

There were few significant differences detected for egg weight among dietary treatments. Egg yield was increased by supplementation of the corn diet with SHM and hens fed diets containing 5% SHM plus Met, Lys, and Trp, or 10% SHM produced egg yields that were not significantly different from hens fed the 16% CP diets during the first wk and for Weeks 1 to 8. Feed efficiency (Weeks 1 to 8) was the greatest for hens fed the corn basal supplemented with 5% SHM plus amino acids, basal supplemented with 10% SHM, and the 16% CP diet. The results obtained herein agree with the earlier reports that showed that hens fed a high-protein molt diet following feed withdrawal will return to egg production faster, regain body weight quicker, produce larger eggs and greater egg yield than hens fed a low-protein corn diet (Brake et al., 1979; Harms, 1983; Koelkebeck et al., 1991; 1993; 1999). The results further indicate that supplementing a low-protein corn molt diet with several levels of SHM can improve and produce early postmolt performance which is nearly equivalent to feeding a high-protein molt diet. The positive response to SHM is most likely due primarily to protein or amino acids since we have observed similar positive responses with other high protein ingredients such as corn gluten meal and feather meal and also amino acids (Koelkebeck et al., 1993; 1999). The type of SHM seems to make little overall difference in postmolt performance, and a 7.5% inclusion rate seems to be adequate for early postmolt performance. However, our results suggest that supplementing a low-protein molt diet with only 5% of a blended SHM may not provide enough protein or amino acids to adequately provide for maximum early postmolt performance unless additional amino acids are added as well. The results of our study indicate that SHM is a good ingredient for molt rations. It will not only increase early egg production compared to feeding a low-protein corn molt diet but also provides another means of utilizing spent hens.

REFERENCES

  1. Brake, J., P. Thaxton, J. D. Garlich, and D. H. Sherwood, 1979. Comparison of fortified ground corn and pullet grower feeding regimes during a forced molt on subsequent layer performance. Poultry Sci. 58:785-790.
  2. Douglas, M. W., M. L. Johnson, and C. M. Parsons. 1997. Evaluation of protein and energy quality of rendered spent hen meals. Poultry Sci. 76:1387-1391.
  3. Harms, R. H., 1983. Influence of protein level in the resting diet upon performance of force rested hens. Poultry Sci. 62:273-276.
  4. Haque, A. K. M. A., J. J. Lyons, and J. M. Vandepopuliere, 1991. Extrusion processing of broiler starter diets containing ground whole hens, poultry by-product meal, feather meal, or ground feathers. Poultry Sci. 70:234-240.
  5. Kersey, J. H., C. M. Parsons, N. M. Dale, J. E. Marr, and P. W. Waldroup, 1997. Nutrient composition of spent hen meals produced by rendering. J. Appl. Poultry Res. 6:319-324.
  6. Kersey, J. H., and P. W. Waldroup, 1998. Utilization of spent hen meal in diets for broiler chickens. Poultry Sci. 77:1377-1387.
  7. Koelkebeck, K. W., C. M. Parsons, R. W. Leeper, S. Jin, and M. W. Douglas, 1999. Early postmolt performance of laying hens fed a low-protein corn molt diet supplemented with corn gluten meal, feather meal, methionine, and lysine. Poultry Sci. 78:1132-1137.
  8. Koelkebeck, K. W., C. M. Parsons, R. W. Leeper, and J. Moshtaghian, 1991. Effect of protein and methionine levels in molt diets on postmolt performance of laying hens. Poultry Sci. 70:2063-2073.
  9. Koelkebeck, K. W., C. M. Parsons, R. W. Leeper, and X. Wang, 1993. Effect of supplementation of a low-protein corn molt diet with amino acids on early postmolt laying hen performance. Poultry Sci. 72:1528-1563.
  10. Lyons, J. J., and J. M. Vandepopuliere, 1996. Spent Leghorn hens converted into feedstuffs. J. Appl. Poultry Res. 5:18-25. Steel, R. G. D., and J. H. Torre, 1980.
  11. Principles and Procedures of Statistics: A Biometrical Approach. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, NY.






« Back to Poultry

top