An evaluation of alfalfa for molt induction on intestinal morphometric parameters and performance of commercial laying hens


1 Department of Animal Sciences, Qazvin Aricultural and Natural Resourses Research and Education Center, Qazvin-Iran

2 Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran-Iran


BACKGROUND: The use of feed withdrawal for molt induction can negatively affected the structure and microbial environment of intestine and lead to greater intestinal colonization by salmonella infection. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present experiment was to determine the effects of alfalfa as a high fiber ingredient for molt induction on intestinal morphometric characteristics and performance of commercial laying hens. METHODS: In this experiment 108 Hy-line (W36) laying hens aged 74 weeks in a completely randomized design with 3 treatments and 6 replicates were used. Using treatments for 12 days molt period were included: 1- control group fed with layer ration (FF), 2- feed withdrawal group (FW), 3- group fed with 90% alfalfa and 10% layer ration (A90). Performance of birds was monitored for 12 weeks after the end of the molting period. RESULTS: Feed withdrawal hens had lowest villus height in all three regions of the intestine (p<0.05).The highest average of deudenal crypt depths was observed in FW hens. In all three regions of the intestine, the lowest amounts of villus index and villus surface was observed in FW hens (p<0.05). In all three regions of the intestine, the highest and lowest average of goblet cells was seen in the A90 and FW hens respectively. The highest mean of post molt egg mass was observed in FW hens (p<0.05). The best FCR was seen in the A90 group. CONCLUSIONS: The use of alfalfa-riched feed for molt induction of laying hens results in improvement of morphometric characteristic of intestine and post molt performance.


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