Document Type : Research Paper
Researcher, Department of Animal Sciences, Qazvin Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, Qazvin-Iran
The objective of this experiment was to studythe effects of fiber-rich molting diets as alternative to the conventional feed withdrawal method, on performance, gastro intestinal fermentation and microbial activity of laying hens. One hundred eighty Hy-line (W36) laying hens were used in a completely randomized design with 5 treatments and 6 replicates by 12 birds in each replication during 12 days. Treatments were: 1- control group (hens fed with a layer diet), 2- feed withdrawal group, 3- laying hen diet containing 20000 mg zinc oxide/kg, 4- laying hen diet diluted by adding 90% alfalfa meal, 5- laying hen diet diluted by adding 90% palm kernel meal. Egg production of hen was monitored for 12 weeks during post molting period. Results show that lactobacilli and Escherichia coli bacteria population was significantly greater (P<0.05) in cecal contents of hens fed by palm kernel meal and withdrawal hens respectively than other treatments in the end of molting period. Also cecal total volatile fatty acids concentration was greater in hens fed by alfalfa than other treatments (P<0.05). The means of egg mass in fed treatments was generally higher than feed withdrawal and control treatments (P<0.05). The results suggest that fiber-rich diets compared to non-fiber diets and feed withdrawal lead to an increase in populations of useful bacteria and fermentation products and improvement of post molting production.