Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Safeguarding Well-being of Food Producing Animals

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Effects of dietary antioxidant on performance and physiological responses following heat stress in laying hens

Authors
item Felver-Gant, J -
item Dennis, Rachel
item Zhao, J -
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: International Journal of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2014
Publication Date: August 1, 2014
Citation: Felver-Gant, J.N., Dennis, R.L., Zhao, J., Cheng, H. 2014. Effects of dietary antioxidant on performance and physiological responses following heat stress in laying hens. International Journal of Poultry Science. 13(5):260-271.

Interpretive Summary: Heat stress is a condition in which an animal is exposed to a high temperature environment for an extended period of time. In laying hens, heat stress is a common problem, especially in warm climate areas. Previous studies have shown that heat stress induces oxidative damage in humans and rodents. The objective of this study was to determine the benefits of antioxidant supplementation in laying hens during heat stress. To achieve this, we separated half of our hens into two adjacent rooms and fed a control diet or control diet mixed with Agrado Plus Ultra®, an antioxidant, at 160 mg/kg for 8 days, respectively. The results suggest antioxidant supplementation of agrado attenuates oxidative stress response in laying hens. These data support the hypothesis that supplemental antioxidants improve hen welfare by reducing heat stress associated physical and physiological damage. These data also provide evidence that is useful to egg producers to aid in developing guidelines for improving hen welfare under heat stress

Technical Abstract: Heat stress (HS) causes oxidative damage, increasing mortality and reducing productivity in chickens. The objective of this study was to determine the benefits of antioxidant supplementation in laying hens during HS. Eighty 32-wk-old W-36 White Leghorn hens were used in this study. Hens were randomly pair-housed in two adjacent rooms and fed a control diet (CF) or control diet mixed with Agrado Plus Ultra®, an antioxidant, at 160 mg/kg (AF) for two weeks. One room was then subjected to a hot climate (H) (33° C) for 8 days. Physical and physiological data were collected at day 1 and 8 during the treatment. Core body temperature was increased (P < 0.0001); and BW (P < 0.05) and liver weight (P < 0.0001) were reduced in laying hens regardless of treatment. However, compared to its respective controls, the concentrations of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) were increased in H-AF hens (P < 0.01) but not in H-CF hens (P > 0.05) at 8 days during the process of HS. Similarly, HSP70 mRNA expression tended to increase in H-AF hens only (P = 0.09). Heat stress reduced the concentrations of total CO2 and bicarbonate (P < 0.05), indicating respiratory alkalosis; and decreased vitamin A (P < 0.01), vitamin E (P < 0.0001) and glutathione peroxidase (P < 0.05) concentrations but increased protein carbonyl concentrations (P < 0.05), indicating protein oxidative damage. A temperature by feed interaction was observed in the concentrations of partial pressure CO2 (pCO2, P < 0.05), superoxide dismutase (SOD, P = 0.06), and protein carbonyl (P = 0.1). Heat stress-caused decreases in pCO2 and SOD and increases in protein carbonyl concentrations were found in control hens but not in AF hens. These results suggest antioxidant supplementation attenuates oxidative stress response in laying hens. These data support the hypothesis that supplemental antioxidants improve hen well-being by reducing HS associated physical and physiological damage.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page