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Effects of a high oil and fibre diet and supplementary roughage on performance, injurious pecking and foraging activities in two layer hybrids

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1. The study investigated the feeding of a high oil and fibre diet containing 260 g/kg organically produced cold pressed sunflower cake or supplemental roughage to aviary-housed Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) and Lohmann Brown (LB) layers between 20 and 74 weeks of age with outdoor access during summer.

2. Feeding roughage was associated with reduced vent injuries, a tendency to improve plumage condition, and was accompanied by improved FCR compared with controls. Feeding the high oil and fibre diet tended to improve FCR compared with the control diet.

3. The dry matter of faeces was reduced in both treatments compared with controls. Foot pad cleanliness and the proportion of dirty eggs were negatively affected by the high oil and fibre diet. Foot health was superior in LB compared to LSL.

4. LB used the outdoor hen-runs more than LSL, but LSL consumed more litter indoors. Fewer LB hens fed on the control feed were recorded in the outdoor hen-runs. Supplemental roughage tended to decrease litter consumption.

5. In conclusion, supplemental roughage reduced vent injuries and was correlated with foraging activities. Feeding 260 g/kg sunflower cake negatively affected hygiene in aviary hens. Sunflower cake is nevertheless a promising alternative feedstuff to fulfil the protein requirement in organic layers.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Animal Nutrition and Management,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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