The trail to 100-week layers


New analysis, funded by the Canadian Poultry Analysis Council, seeks to keep up hen well being by longer lay cycle.

For laying hens, robust bones and good egg shell high quality each require phosphorus and calcium – two important minerals that journey from the hen’s physique to her eggs over time. Consequently, on the finish of a 70-week lay cycle, a hen’s provide of minerals in bone could also be depleted resulting in weaker bones. Now, Marie-Pierre Létourneau-Montminy in Laval College’s Animal Science Division is main a world multidisciplinary analysis group on two concurrent initiatives that purpose to know how calcium and phosphorus journey by a hen’s physique at varied levels of the life cycle, and the way precision mineral feeding may assist meet each day mineral necessities that might enable producers to increase a lay cycle.

“We’re working to foretell each day vitamin necessities of laying hens in calcium and phosphorus,” says Létourneau-Montminy. “Now we have a modeling mission that, for the primary time, collates all out there revealed knowledge to present us a greater understanding of the destiny of calcium and phosphorus in  the gastrointestinal tract after which at metabolic ranges. And concurrently, we’re in a position to check the mannequin’s predictions in a 100-week analysis trial.”

Limestone particle dimension issues

To simulate the destiny of those minerals, the group first needed to perceive the extent of labor that had already been performed to trace phosphorus and calcium within the digestive tract of a laying hen. The researchers confronted an surprising hurdle after they realized there was no data referring to the interplay between limestone particle dimension (a supply of calcium) and phytase in laying hens, an enzyme that makes phosphorus from crops. Analysis companions in France carried out a trial that offered data to deal with the hole.

“We confirmed massive limestone particles work together much less with phytase, and nice particle dimension will cut back the effectivity of the enzymes,” says Létourneau-Montminy. “Bigger limestone particles keep within the gizzard longer, and since eggshells type at evening when the hen eats much less, they’re an out there supply of calcium. That is significantly essential as  a hen ages, and makes much less environment friendly use of calcium.”

From there, the researchers had been higher in a position to predict phosphorus and calcium absorption. On the whole, the hen has to take some calcium from the bone to deposit within the egg’s shell in the course of the evening, and that course of delivers phosphorus, which is then misplaced in manure. With the modelling examine knowledge, the group was in a position to predict each day vitamin necessities all through a hen’s life cycle – and even optimum time of day.

Measuring bone well being

For the second a part of Létourneau-Montminy’s mission, the researchers are placing the mannequin predictions to the check by elevating laying hens to 100 weeks with two completely different dietary phosphorus ranges. The group is utilizing a bone scanner instrument generally utilized in human drugs for osteoporosis analysis to check the hens’ bones for mineral content material in addition to physique composition in fats and lean. Létourneau-Montminy hopes the mission will give a greater understanding of how bone evolves, and the quantity of calcium that transfers to eggs as hens age.

“With age, the birds enter osteoporosis and so they make much less environment friendly use of calcium,” says Létourneau-Montminy. “We additionally are likely to see a discount of phosphorus.”

The significance of precision phosphorus

Létourneau-Montminy notes with world phosphorus reserves affected by rising costs and shortage, producers face rising stress to be exact with this non-renewable useful resource. When the trial completes in November 2022, she hopes to have a greater understanding of precisely how phosphorus and calcium are used within the hen’s physique over time.

“We all know that with getting old, hens use extra of their bone reserves, so we’re completely different methods,” says Létourneau-Montminy. “With this trial we could have essential details about how mineral necessities change, and we could have many knowledge factors to assist us fill in among the information gaps.”

Birds usually lay 350 eggs by the top of their 52-week  cycle. By extending to 70 weeks of lay or 100 weeks of age, the purpose is to get to 500 eggs, so long as the info helps the birds are in good bodily form. She notes the group is gathering details about bone composition, bone marrow density, mineral content material in eggs and bones, in addition to hormone ranges in bloodwork over time.

Each the modeling mission and the analysis trial can be accomplished by early 2023. Létourneau-Montminy hopes to finish the same trial utilizing the identical design vitamin D concentrations in food plan and in layer hens.

This analysis is funded by the Canadian Poultry Analysis Council as a part of the Poultry Science Cluster which is supported by Agriculture and Agri-Meals Canada as a part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Further assist was obtained from Egg Farmers of Canada, DSM and Avimix Vitamin.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here