|Woodward, C - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY|
|Ricke, S - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY|
Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 24, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The standard method for molting to stimulate multiple egg-laying cycles in laying hens is feed deprivation. However, the environmental changes within hens caused by feed deprivation are known to increase susceptibility of the hens to Salmonella enteritidis (SE) infection. In an effort to develop an alternative method to induce molting without increasing susceptibility to SE, an alfalfa diet was compared with the standard molting method for the level of molting and SE colonization. Hens over 50 wk of age were divided into three treatment groups (12 hens/group); non-molting by normal feeding (NM), molting by feed deprivation (MO), and molting by alfalfa diet (AD). The individual hens in all treatments were challenged orally with 10**4 cfu of SE on the fourth day after feed changes, and analyzed for ovary weight and SE colonization or invasion in crop contents, cecal contents, liver, spleen, and ovary on the ninth day. In ovary weight, AD (4.8 g) was not different from MO (6.9 g) but was significantly lower (P = < 0.05) than NM (27.5 g), indicating the molting was possibly as successfully induced in AD as in MO. However, the total number of SE positive organs for all of the organs determined by enrichment technique was decreased in AD (10/60) as compared to MO (46/60), while no colonization was detected in NM (0/60). The trends of SE reduction in AD as compared to MO were consistent with all of the organs analyzed. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that an alfalfa diet has the potential to be used as an alternative method for forced molting, without increasing the incidence of SE in eggs and internal organs.