Guzmán Medina, María del Pilar; Saldaña, B.; Bouali, O.; Cámara, L. y Mateos, G.G.
Effect of level of fiber of the rearing phase diets on egg production, digestive tract traits, and body measurements of brown egg-laying hens fed diets differing in energy concentration.
This research studied the effects of additional fiber in the rearing phase diets on egg production, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) traits, and body measurements of brown egg-laying hens fed diets varying in energy concentration from 17 to 46 wk of age. The experiment was completely randomized with 10 treatments arranged as a 5 × 2 factorial with 5 rearing phase diets and 2 laying phase diets. During the rearing phase, treatments consisted of a control diet based on cereals and soybean meal and 4 additional diets with a combination of 2 fiber sources (cereal straw and sugar beet pulp, SBP) at 2 levels (2 and 4%). During the laying phase, diets differed in energy content (2,650 vs. 2,750 kcal AMEn/kg) but had the same amino acid content per unit of energy. The rearing diet did not affect any production trait except egg production that was lower in birds fed SBP than in birds fed straw (91.6 and 94.1%, respectively; P < 0.05). Laying hens fed the high energy diet had lower feed intake (P < 0.001), better feed conversion (P < 0.01), and greater BW gain (P < 0.05) than hens fed the low energy diet but egg production and egg weight were not affected. At 46 wk of age, none of the GIT traits was affected by previous dietary treatment. At this age, hen BW was positively related with body length (r = 0.500; P < 0.01), tarsus length (r = 0.758; P < 0.001), and body mass index (r = 0.762; P < 0.001) but no effects of type of diet on these traits were detected. In summary, the inclusion of up to 4% of a fiber source in the rearing diets did not affect GIT development of the hens but SBP reduced egg production. An increase in the energy content of the laying phase diet reduced ADFI and improved feed efficiency but did not affect any of the other traits studied.