SUMMARY
  • A healthy feather cover is important in hens, playing a crucial role in thermoregulation and overall welfare (Decina et al., 2019).
  • Feather loss around the back and vent of the hen is normally associated with feather pecking and feather loss around the head and neck can be associated with aggressive flock behaviour.
  • Orego-Stim is a high quality eubiotic comprised of 100% natural oregano essential oil which improved feather cover in hens.
  • Orego-Stim can help to improve hen calmness, and subsequently reduce feather pecking behaviour in commercial laying hens.
COMMERCIAL STUDY DESIGN

A commercial study was undertaken at a large layer farm in Western Europe to determine the effect of Orego-Stim on feather cover. All pullets were reared in the same pullet house and transferred to enriched cage system laying houses at 16 weeks of age. Two houses of 90,000 Hy-Line Brown hens were fed either a standard diet (control), or a standard diet supplemented with Orego-Stim (Orego-Stim). This was included in the diet at 450g/t inclusion from to 15 to 34 weeks, followed by 300g/t from 34 to 81 weeks of age. Feather cover was assessed at 40 weeks of age and scored using the following: 0=No/minimal feather loss; no bare skin. 1=Moderate wear; bare skin visible up to 5cm in diameter.

RESULTS

graphs showing feather loss and feather score

The addition of Orego-Stim in layer diets from the start of laying until end of lay resulted in:

  • 5% greater feather cover, with 92% of the hens scoring 0, indicating minimal to no loss of feather cover (Figure 1).
  • Reduced feather loss in the back/vent and head/neck areas of the hen (Figure 2).
  • Improved egg production and economic gain, giving a ROI of 5.5:1.

 

This study demonstrates that Orego-Stim is a cost-effective, natural solution for improving hen feather cover and supporting calmness of the flock which is associated with reduced feather pecking.

Disclaimer: No performance guarantee is offered. All observations noted in this document were provided by the customer.

 

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