The aim of this study was to investigate, under conditions similar to commercial broiler production, the effect of the herbal extract blend (HE) at a quantity of 1 g per kg feed (200 mg of each herbal extract, Allium sativum, Salvia officinalis, Echinacea purpurea, Thymus vulgaris and Origanum
vulgare), used individually or in combination with mannan oligosaccharide (MOS; 1 g per kg feed) or chitosan (3 ml containing 2% deacetylated chitin per kg feed) on the performance parameters of broiler chickens, the results of the slaughter analysis, litter moisture and the number of oocysts excreted in feces. The experiment was conducted on 4,500 broiler chickens of both sexes kept in straw-bedded pens. Chickens were randomly assigned to 5 experimental treatments with 5 replicates (pens) of 180 birds. The experimental design included negative and positive (diclazuril, 1 mg per kg feed) control groups. The examined herbal extract blend used individually during natural exposure to the coccidia improved, compared to the negative control diet, the performance parameters to a greater extent than coccidiostat, lowered the litter moisture content and reduced the oocyst output. Combined dietary supplementation with a herbal extract blend of chitosan or mannan oligosaccharide did not result in further improvement.
Performance and Egg Quality of Hens from Conservation Flocks Fed a Diet Containing Maize Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS)
The objective of the study was to evaluate laying performance and quality indices of consumption and hatching eggs in hens from conservation flocks fed a diet containing maize distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). A total of 360 Greenleg Partridge (Z-11) and Rhode Island Red (R-11) hens, included in the genetic resources conservation programme in Poland, were investigated. The good performance obtained by layers fed the DDGS diet indicates that maize distillers dried grains with solubles can serve as a useful source of protein in the nutrition of hens from conservation flocks, partly replacing imported soybean meal. The dietary inclusion of DDGS improved laying performance while maintaining hatchability traits and the quality of consumption eggs. The DDGS diet had an effect on nutritionally important egg quality traits, i.e. increased protein content of egg albumen and increased concentration of oleic and linoleic acids in yolk lipids, with a simultaneous increase in n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio. Dietary inclusion of DDGS also increased yolk colour intensity and Haugh units while having no effect on eggshell quality.
The objective of the paper was to demonstrate the possibilities of using Polish native breeds of chickens for the production of meat for its specific quality features in the light of worldwide researches. The object of the analysis was the quality of meat from slow-growing chickens raised in varied housing systems, including capons and poulards. The findings of studies on the quality of poultry meat from native breeds obtained from post-production cockerels and from hens in their post egg-laying stage have shown that there are chances for their use in meat production. Native breed hens can also be used as foundation material for the production of capons, poulards or international mixed breeds for purposes of extensive farming. The body weight of native breed hens, including their muscle build depend on the bird’s genotype, feeding, length of exploitation and farming system. Meat from native breed hens, raised in free-range systems has less fat, but with higher polyunsaturated fatty acids in their meat muscles as well as a healthier ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFA acids. Outdoor free-range access influences the meat colour, i.e., bright coloured breast muscle (L*) as well as increased intensity of red coloration of leg muscles (b*). Caponisation of hens enhances intensified body weight gains along with increased fattening of meat. In comparison with cockerel meat, the meat of capons is more juicy, tender and of better taste, while poulard meat has distinctively favourable sensory values in comparison with broiler chicken meat.
The aim of the experiment with 240 ISA Brown hens fed the diets with standard or decreased Ca level was to evaluate the effect of selected feed additives on laying performance and eggshell quality. The hens were allocated to 10 treatments, each containing 12 cages (replicates) of 2 birds. A 2 × 5 experimental arrangement was used. From 26 to 70 wks of age, experimental diets containing 3.20 or 3.70% Ca were used. The diets were either not supplemented, or supplemented with sodium butyrate, probiotic bacteria, herb extracts blend or chitosan. The decreased dietary Ca reduced eggshell quality indices in older hens (43-69 wks) (P<0.05) without effect on performance indices. The addition of the probiotic, herb extracts, or chitosan increased the laying rate (P<0.05). In older hens, i.e. at 69 wk, chitosan increased eggshell thickness and breaking strength, while herb extracts increased eggshell thickness (P<0.05). There was no interaction between the experimental factors in performance and eggshell quality. The used feed additives had no influence on fatty acid profile of egg lipids, however diet supplementation with chitosan decreased cholesterol concentration in egg yolk lipids (P<0.05). It can be concluded that such feed additives as probiotic, herb extracts, or chitosan may positively affect performance and eggshell quality, irrespective of Ca dietary level.
The trial with 240 caged ISA Brown laying hens was performed to evaluate the effect of selected feed additives on mineral utilisation as well as biomechanical (breaking strength, yielding load, stiffness) and geometrical (cortex thickness, cross-section area, weight, length) indices of tibia and femur bones. At 26 wks of age the layers were randomly assigned to 10 treatments with 12 replicates (cages) of two birds. In the study a 2 × 5 experimental scheme was used i.e. to 70 wks of age, the layers were fed isocaloric and isonitrogenous experimental diets containing reduced (3.20%) or standard (3.70%) Ca level. The diets with both Ca levels were either not supplemented, or supplemented with the studied feed additives i.e. sodium butyrate, probiotic bacteria, herbal extract blend and chitosan. There were no statistically significant effects of the experimental factors on the indices of the tibia bones. However, the diet with reduced Ca level decreased bone breaking strength, yielding load, stiffness, and mineralisation of the femur bones (P<0.05). The majority of used feed supplements, i.e. probiotic, herb extracts, and chitosan, increased biomechanical indices (breaking strength and yielding load) and mineralisation of the femur bones (P<0.05). Neither dietary Ca level nor feed additives affected dry matter, organic matter, ether extract, N-free extracts, crude fibre and ash digestibility, and P retention and excretion; however, Ca excretion and retention was lower in the hens fed the diets with reduced Ca level (P<0.05). Relative Ca retention (Ca retained as % of Ca intake) was improved by diet supplementation with probiotic, herb extracts and chitosan (P<0.05). In conclusion, this study has shown that decreased Ca dietary level (3.20%) can negatively affect bone quality in layers, while probiotic, herb extracts and chitosan addition may improve the selected biomechanical indices of the femurs, irrespective of Ca dietary concentration.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the immune effects of genetically modified (GM), insect resistant corn (MON810) expressing toxin protein of Bacillus thuringiensis, and glyphosate-tolerant soybean meal (Roundup Ready MON-40-30-2), which are used as the feed mixture components in domestic animals. The study was conducted on 60 pigs (36 fatteners and 24 sows), 20 calves, 40 broilers, and 40 laying hens. Each species was divided into four basic nutritional groups: group I (control) - conventional feed, group II - feed consisted of GM soybean meal and non-modified corn, group III - non-modified soybean meal and GM corn, group IV - GM soybean meal and GM corn. Moreover, in the experiment on fatteners two additional groups were formed: group V - animals fed both conventional soybean meal and bruised grain, and group VI - GM soybean meal and conventional bruised grain. The results of study did not reveal any significant effect of feed mixtures containing GM components on the immune response in all animals regardless of their species and technological producing groups.
A probiotic is a culture of live microorganisms that can manipulate and maintain a beneficial microflora in the gut. Prebiotics are nondigestible feed ingredients that can positively affect the animal organism by stimulating the activity and growth of beneficial native bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and eliminate the pathogenic ones. Some studies have shown their beneficial effects when they have been used separately or simultaneously in the form of synbiotics, to obtain enhanced mutual effect. These supplements were proposed with success as alternatives to antibiotic growth-promoting feed additives but further studies are needed to better understand their mode of action and effects. This review article presents growing interest in using these antibiotic alternatives, the potential mechanism of their action in the live organism, and discusses some recent data on the effects of these supplements in poultry nutrition.
The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that eggs from native breed laying hens fed a diet containing increased amounts of local feed materials are not inferior in quality to eggs from laying hens receiving a standard diet but raised without outdoor access. The study involved Greenleg Partridge (Z-11) and Rhode Island Red hens (R-11). Within each breed, the control group (C) consisted of 60 hens kept on litter without outdoor access, stocked at 5 birds/m2 and fed a diet containing 65.3% of local feed materials. The experimental group (E) contained 60 layers maintained on litter with access to an outdoor area (11 m2 per bird) and fed a diet containing 77.1% of local feed materials. Eggs from hens of both breeds, which received diets containing increased proportions of local feed materials had lower weight but higher yolk percentage. The quality of eggshells from hens fed the diet with increased amounts of local materials was similar to that of eggshells from confined hens. Egg yolk lipids from experimental groups were characterized by a more beneficial n-6/n-3 acid ratio and elevated vitamin A levels. These eggs had better sensory scores for colour, flavour and aroma, which suggests that it is appropriate to raise native breeds of chickens with outdoor access and local feed materials can be used in extensive husbandry systems.
Freshwater turtles are commonly kept in captivity as pets, bred in zoos for conservation programs, and commercially farmed for pet markets and human consumption, but their nutrition can be challenging. However, based on practical experience, two main strategies may be identified: the use of non-calculated raw diets and the use of balanced commercial feeds. Raw diets are based on fresh, frozen and dried components including invertebrates, fish, rodents and plant matter; they imitate the variety of foods that are accessible to turtles in the wild and are considered most useful when turtles are bred for reintroduction into their natural habitat as part of conservation programs. Granulated, pelleted or extruded commercial diets are frequently used for farmed and pet turtles; they contain animal- and plant-based materials supplemented with vitamin and mineral premixes and calculated to reach the nutrient levels assumed to be optimal for most species. Until more species-specific information on the nutritional requirements of freshwater turtles is available, the Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis), a commonly commercially farmed species for human consumption, may be used as a reference for other species in terms of suggested nutrient levels. Based on experimental data, the most important nutrients and their levels that should be included in turtle diets are crude protein (39.0-46.5%), crude fat (8.8%), Ca (5.7%), P (3.0%), methionine (1.03%), and cysteine (0.25%). The diet composition for freshwater turtles should be based on scientific knowledge and practical experience, so this paper aimed to present and discuss the available data on the nutrient requirements of turtles and the characteristics of the feed materials used in their nutrition.
A high content of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), namely arabinoxylans (AX), in rye is a reason for the potential adverse effect of this grain on intestinal functions, gut microflora, absorption of nutrients and performance indices. As such, the use of rye grain in intensively produced poultry diets is limited. However, recently developed new types of hybrid rye are characterised not only by increased yield potential, resistance to fungus and pests and low production costs, but also the content of antinutritive substances may be reduced in these varieties. The aim of this paper is to discuss the mechanisms of NSP effects in the digestive tract, as well as to review the results of recent studies on the use of rye in poultry nutrition. Based on the literature data, it can be concluded that the use of new hybrid rye varieties with decreased NSP concentration and NSP-hydrolising enzymes may be a way of increasing the share of rye grain in poultry diets.