Probiotics and Layers: A Good Fit

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Article | 21.11.2021
Understanding of the animal gut is growing, and the link between gut health and superior technical results has become undeniable. A healthy gut and balanced microbiota are rightly seen as the driver of animal growth performance. As such, effective gut management has become increasingly important as animal production continues to aim for more efficiency and productivity.

Probiotics are a good management tool, contributing to effective animal production. The use of live bacteria to achieve health and performance benefits is not a new concept and has a long history in both human and animal nutrition. The mode of action of probiotics can be multifactorial, which makes them a complex research topic. As a result, there remains plenty of research to be done, but the impact probiotics can have on gut health and technical performance has been proven beyond any doubt. This has made probiotics a well-recognized part of modern feed formulations, and probiotics are rightly considered to be important feed additives. 

A good example is Bacillus licheniformis DSM 28710 (B-Act®), a spore-forming probiotic with a long and extensive history in animal production. The probiotic's mode of action is based on the principle of competitive exclusion, including outcompeting undesirable bacteria in terms of nutrients and space, as well as producing potent antimicrobial metabolites with a strong affinity for undesirable bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens. As a result, the composition and balance of the gut microbiota is positively impacted, whilst gut integrity is maintained. By incorporating B-Act® in the diet from start to finish, it is possible to mitigate gut health challenges during all production stages.

Recent efficacy research focused on the use of B-Act® in layers, showing improvements in both egg quality and egg production. For example, when B-Act® was introduced to Hy-Line Brown layers at a dosage of 500 g/mton (1.6 x 1012 CFU/mton of feed) from 21 to 45 weeks of age, egg production increased significantly whilst feed conversion efficiency improved numerically.

These results were replicated in a second trial with Isa Brown hens from 22 to 34 weeks of age using the same B-Act® dosage. The birds that received B-Act® showed a significantly improved feed conversion efficiency.

In a third trial, this time with Lohmann Brown layers between 25 and 45 weeks of age and supplemented with the same B-Act® dosage, the findings were confirmed once more. In the last trial egg quality parameters were also evaluated and showed the B-Act® supplementation significantly reduced the amount of excreted protein. This can be interpreted as a better functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, thus utilising the provided nutrients from the diets as much as possible.

Supporting a healthy gut leads to productive and profitable poultry. With an attractive return on investment, B-Act® offers an interesting solution to do so, combining economics with health standards in the most rewarding way.

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