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Probiotics boost layer performance in Brazilian study

News   •   Jun 09, 2016 23:24 GMT

Probiotic feed supplements significantly increase egg weight, mass and production, a Brazilian layer study shows, while also improving litter quality.

The controlled study, conducted at Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Viçosa, was designed to evaluate the impact of two different probiotic feed supplements — GalliPro® (Bacillus subtilis) and BioPlus® (B. subtilis + B. licheniformis) — on several indicators of layer production performance.

Compared to control, probiotic treatment led to significant improvements in egg weight, mass and production, and was also associated with lower feed conversion rates. Litter quality was also better for the probiotic-treated hens.

“These findings reinforce the well-documented link between layer performance and intestinal integrity and function,” says Scientific Manager Anée Berg Kehlet.

“The probiotics used in this study work by stabilizing gut flora, while increasing digestive enzyme activity. The result is improved nutrient uptake and decreased growth of harmful bacteria — which contribute to higher-performing hens and better-quality eggs.”

Study design 

In the study, researchers randomized 180 Hy-line laying hens, aged 25 weeks and housed two to a cage, between three different treatment groups. The control group was fed a standard Brazilian diet based primarily on corn and soy, with recommended levels of nutrients. The other treatment groups were fed the same diet, plus a probiotic additive containing either GalliPro® or BioPlus®.

Over five periods of 28 days, researchers evaluated egg characteristics (weight, mass and production), as well as feed intake and feed conversion per dozen eggs and per gram of egg. During the third period, litter was also evaluated by measuring dry-matter content.

Improved laying performance 

Results indicate that probiotic treatment was associated with 1.5-1.9% increased egg weight and 3.8-3.9% increased egg mass (Figure 1). Furthermore, probiotic use was associated with 2.1-2.6% increased egg production, as well as better feed conversion per gram of egg, despite increased feed intake (Table 1). Probiotic-treated hens also had better litter quality, as measured by 4-6% higher dry-matter content.

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According to Kehlet, GalliPro® and BioPlus® contain highly heat-stable, spore-forming bacteria that can be added to water, mash or pellet feed and are compatible with most other feed additives.

“Worth noting about this study is that no dietary changes were required — the probiotic supplements were simply added to a standard diet,” she says. “Using our Bacillus-based probiotics not only improves laying performance and egg quality, leading to increased profits, but drier manure can also help with fly control.”