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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392395

Research Project: Protecting the Welfare of Food Producing Animals

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: The impact of Probiotic, Bacillus subtilis, on injurious behavior in laying hens

item JIANG, SHA - Southwest University
item HU, JIAYING - Purdue University
item Cheng, Heng-Wei

Submitted to: Animals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2022
Publication Date: 3/30/2022
Citation: Jiang, S., Hu, J., Cheng, H. 2022. The impact of Probiotic, Bacillus subtilis, on injurious behavior in laying hens. Animals.

Interpretive Summary: Injurious behavior prevention is a critical issue in the poultry industry due to increasing social stress, consequently enhancing gut microbiota dysbiosis and brain inflammation via the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Probiotics have been used as potential therapeutic treatments to improve neuropsychiatric disorders or symptoms by boosting cognitive and behavioral processes and reducing stress reactions in humans and various experimental animals. The current data indicate that probiotic Bacillus subtilis reduces stress-induced injurious behavior in laying hens via regulating microbiota-gut-brain function with a potential to be an alternative to beak trimming during poultry egg production. These results may provide insights for animal scientists to develop management strategies to reduce injurious behaviors in farm animals.

Technical Abstract: The intestinal microbiota function likes an endocrine organ to regulate host physiological homeostasis and behavioral exhibition in stress responses via regulating the gut-brain axis in humans and other mammals. In humans, stress-induced dysbiosis of the gut microbiota leads to intestinal permeability, subsequently affecting the clinical course of neuropsychiatric disorders, increasing the frequency of aggression and related violent behaviors. Probiotics, as direct-fed microorganisms, have been used as dietary supplements or functional foods to target gut micro-biota (microbiome) for prevention or therapeutic treatment of mental diseases including social stress-induced psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Similar function of the probiotics may present in laying hens. In laying hens, some management practices, such as hens reared in conventional cages or at a high stocking density, may cause stress, leading to injurious behaviors, such as aggressive pecking, severe feather pecking, and cannibalism, which is a critical issue facing the poultry industry due to negative effects on hen health and welfare with devastating economic consequences. In this review article, we discussed the current development of using probiotic Bacillus subtilis to prevent or reduce injurious behaviors in laying hens.