Split feeding as an alternative system to improve shell quality of aged hens

Anikó Molnár, Luc Maertens, Johan Buyse, Johan Zoons, Evelyne Delezie

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalpeer-review


    In this experiment the effect of 5 split feeding treatments was investigated on performance and egg quality of individually housed layers (75-90 wk, Dekalb white, n=12/treatment). The control treatment (T1) received the same feed in the morning (M) and in the afternoon (A), which contained fine (F) and coarse limestone (CLS) at ratio 50:50. For the split treatments, the ratio of FLS and CLS was 50:50 or 30:70 and time of administration (M/A) differed. Following treatments were given: T2=50CM:50FA, T3= 30FA:70CA, T4=50FM:50CA, T5=30FM:20FA+50CA and T6=30FM:70CA. Data was analyzed with a linear mixed effects model in R 3.1.
    Due to an unexpectedly low feed intake and laying%, T1 could not be compared to the split treatments and was excluded from the analysis. Results indicated that time of feeding FLS and CLS affect production and shell quality. When only FLS was fed in the afternoon (T2) shell formation had to be supported by bone reserves during the night which resulted in low shell thickness (ST). Although ST decreased in all treatments from 403.2µm to 390.2µm between 76-90 wk of age (P=0.016), highest ST was obtained in T4 (408.0µm) and T5 (401.7µm) whereas ST of T2 (388.2µm) and T3 (394.3µm) was the lowest (P=0.058). When all LS was fed in the afternoon (T3) egg weight (EW) increased and ST decreased. At 88 wk of age eggs weighed 60.4g in T2 whereas EW was 66.3g in T3 and 67.3g in T6 at 88 wk (P≤0.05). Providing FLS in the morning and CLS in the afternoon in ratios of 50:50 (T4), 30:20+50 (T5) or 30:70 (T6) however, resulted not only in favorable shell quality but also performance: laying% of hens in T4 (89.6%) and T5 (92.9%) was higher than in T2 (66.1%) at 89-90 wk of age (P≤0.05). Laying% of T3 (71.7%) was lower than that of T5, and T6 (86.8%) did not differ from the other treatments. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) in T2 was higher than in T5, T3 and T6 at 87-88 wk (P≤0.05). At 89-90 wk FCR of T3 increased, and T2 and T3 had a higher FCR compared to T4, T5 and T6.
    Therefore T4, T5 and T6 can be considered for further research to study whether this feeding system could also be applied under field conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPoultry science
    Issue numberE-suppl 1
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventPoultry Science Association Annual Meeting 2016 - Hilton Riverside , New Orleans, United States
    Duration: 11-Jul-201614-Jul-2016
    Conference number: 105


    Dive into the research topics of 'Split feeding as an alternative system to improve shell quality of aged hens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this