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Poult Sci. 2014 May;93(5):1197-201. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03518.

Egg quality and productive performance of laying hens fed different levels of skimmed milk powder added to a diet containing Lactobacillus acidophilus.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali-Produzione, Territorio, Agroenergia, Via Celoria 2, Italia.


The current trial was carried out on a commercial poultry farm to study the effect of skim milk powder (SMP) added to a diet containing Lactobacillus acidophilus on performance and egg quality of laying hens from 20 to 49 wk of age. A total of 2,400 Hy-Line W-36 laying hens were housed in 600 unenriched cages (4 hens each) located over 4 tier levels. Animals were assigned to 1 of 3 experimental treatments (0, 3, and 4). The laying hens assigned to treatments 3 and 4 received a diet enriched respectively with 3 and 4% SMP, whereas the animals in treatment 0 were fed a diet without SMP. All diets, moreover, were supplemented with L. acidophilus D2/CSL. Hen performance was determined throughout the experimental period and egg quality was measured on 30 eggs per treatment every week. Results showed that productive performance in terms of egg production, egg weight, and feed conversion ratio was not influenced by SMP at 3 or 4% of the diet. Egg quality was significantly affected by SMP included at 3 or 4% of the diet. Eggs from treatments 3 and 4, in fact, displayed higher shell thickness than those from treatment 0 (P < 0.0001). Likewise, specific gravity, Haugh unit, and shell percentage were significantly affected by the addition of SMP. In conclusion, in our study, SMP added to a diet containing L. acidophilus had no significant effects on the productive parameters of hens during the laying period, whereas significant improvements were found in certain egg quality characteristics.


Lactobacillus acidophilus; egg quality; laying hen; performance; skim milk powder

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