The potential for probiotics to prevent reproductive tract lesions in free-range laying hens

Shini, S., Shini, A. and Blackall, P. (2013) The potential for probiotics to prevent reproductive tract lesions in free-range laying hens. Animal Production Science, 53 12: 1298-1308. doi:10.1071/AN12337

Author Shini, S.
Shini, A.
Blackall, P.
Title The potential for probiotics to prevent reproductive tract lesions in free-range laying hens
Journal name Animal Production Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1836-0939
Publication date 2013-05-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AN12337
Volume 53
Issue 12
Start page 1298
End page 1308
Total pages 11
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
A study was undertaken to investigate the ability of two commercial probiotics applied in free-range laying hens (from 18 to 22 weeks of age) in reducing the occurrence of reproductive tract pathologies, and improving hen health and performance. In all, 630 17-week-old brown layers were transferred to a freshly cleaned free-range laying facility, and randomly divided into three groups, with three replicates of 70 birds each. Both probiotics were administered in the drinking water (Groups 1 and 2) on a daily basis for 4 weeks, while Group 3 was left untreated. At 38 weeks of age, the results demonstrated that treatment with either probiotic significantly reduced the occurrence of reproductive tract pathologies (control vs probiotics, 33% vs 22% and 11%; P < 0.01), mortalities (control vs probiotics; 3.8% vs 1.5 and 1.9%; P < 0.01), and increased the performance of hens, for another 20 weeks post-treatments (hen day production for control vs probiotics 75% vs 90% and 94%; P < 0.01). Birds treated with probiotics maintained their bodyweight and egg weights at standard ranges, while untreated birds did not perform at this level. Although we were unable to show any effect on cloacal bacterial colonisation, the results of the present study provided some initial evidence that reproductive pathologies that often cause drops in egg production and sudden deaths of birds, can be reduced if free range hens are treated with a commercial probiotic before or during the onset of lay. The use of a probiotic benefits the health and performance status of hens, resulting in better hen welfare and significant economic gains to egg producers.
Keyword Egg production
Good bacteria
Laying hens
Oviduct pathology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Sun, 10 Nov 2013, 18:47:07 EST by Shaniko Shini on behalf of School of Veterinary Science