The microbial population of the gastro-intestinal tract is influenced by a number of factors, including pH, substrate availability, toxins, antibodies, and other bacteria. Hens possess an unstable microbial ecosystem and poorly digested nutrients and anti-nutritional factors can lead to undesirable microbial growth, often resulting in a negative impact on performance. Periods of stress can cause a shift in the microbial profile from beneficial to deleterious. Feeding probiotic products, such as CloSTAT® Dry Direct-Fed Microbial, based on a patented Bacillus subtilis PB6 strain, contribute to intestinal microbial balance.
A study was conducted at a commercial laying operation to evaluate the effect of CloSTAT® on the performance of Hyline W-98 layers from 68 to 102 weeks of age. One house, equipped with a split feeding system, was used in the study. This arrangement allowed one group of 136,000 hens to be fed the control diet and another group of 136,000 hens to receive the DFM treatment under similar conditions. CloSTAT® was added at 1 lb/ton (0.5 kg/ton) to normal second cycle diets 2-3 weeks prior to induction of the molt and fed for an additional 34 weeks. Egg production, egg weight, body weight, feed intake and mortality were measured weekly.
Egg production and mortality tended to be improved in the CloSTAT® group throughout the trial. An increase of 1.9 eggs per hen-housed and 0.57 lb (0.25 kg) of egg mass per hen-housed and a 1.5% reduction in mortality was recorded in the CloSTAT® group. Feed intake and body weight were slightly elevated in the CloSTAT® group through approximately 83 weeks of age, after which there was no discernible difference between treatment groups.
A trial conducted in broilers demonstrated that adding a suspension of lysophopholipids (LPLs) which function as surfactants and emulsifiers enhanced absorption of animal-source fats incorporated in diets at 3%. It was demonstrated that the commercial compound increased body weight through 21 days for chicks fed diets containing poultry fat and tallow but not soybean oil. The beneficial action of LPLs was confined to enhanced digestion of C16:0 and C18:0 fatty acids.
A parallel trial investigated the effect of dietary LPLs alone or in combination with a beta- mannanase enzyme in a corn-soy broiler diet through 42 days. In one of two studies conducted the combination enhanced gain and feed conversion efficiency compared with other treatments. Both trials demonstrated a cost advantage associated with LPL supplementation.
Although these studies were performed on broilers, the benefits from supplementation could be expected in commercial egg production flocks but it will be necessary to confirm positive responses in controlled experiments.