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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #432812

Research Project: Probiotic, Bacillus Subtilis, Prevents Injurious Behaviors And Increases Skeletal Health In Laying Hens

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-013-36-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 15, 2017
End Date: May 14, 2021

Objective:
The aim of the work is to develop a novel method to safeguard hen welfare by preventing osteoporosis. We hypothesize that a Bacillus subtilis probiotic formulation dietary supplementation will 1) reduce inflammation-induced skeletal damage via regulating intestinal and systemic immunity; 2) enhance the function of the central serotonergic system in regulating skeletal health; 3) reduce osteoporosis in laying hens by enhanced bone remodeling, and 4) improve hen livability and egg production. Supporting objectives are: to examine 1) probiotic-increased bone formation; 2) the reduction of osteoporosis and its correlation with probiotic-induced long-lasting neurobiological plasticity; and 3) the effects of probiotic on mortality and egg production.

Approach:
Two trials, each lasting to when hens are 80 weeks of age, will be initiated in January of 2017 and February 2019, respectively. For each trial, a most popular commercial layer strain will be used in this study (n=480) randomly divided into 2 treatments: control hens and probiotic fed hens. Upon hatching, the female chicks will be randomly assigned to 20-bird floor pens in 12 replicates per treatment for 80 weeks under standard management. Mortality and egg production (beginning at week 20) will be recorded daily; active behaviors (walking, standing, and eating) will be recorded at 5 week intervals; and brain, bone, and blood samples will be collected at 20, 40, and 80 wk (n=12 birds/treatment/time). Samples will be analyzed for serotonin and its receptors, interleukin(IL)-2 and IL-6 (pro-inflammatory cytokines), IL-10 (anti- inflammatory cytokine), skeletal health (microarchitectural deterioration, facture, and bone mineral density and content), biomarkers and factors regulating functions of osteoclasts and osteoblasts (osteocalcin, type-I collagen, fibroblast growth factors, alkaline phosphatase, thyroid hormone, parathyroid hormone, and leptin), and eggshell quality (mineral content and thickness). Skeletal health, behavior, neuroendocrine function, and production will be compared between treatments.