SUMMARY
  • Pullets fed Orego-Stim throughout rearing had a better flock uniformity in body weight compared to control fed pullets.
  • Supplementation of Orego-Stim had a positive effect on reproductive fitness and readiness for laying.
  • Improved flock uniformity and reproductive fitness in pullets fed Orego-Stim resulted in more consistent egg sizes and improved lifetime laying performance (See trial summary on laying performance).
BACKGROUND
  • It typically takes a minimum of 4 weeks for a chick to develop a mature gut microbiota and during this time, it is important to establish a balanced and diverse bacterial population (Ballou et al., 2016).
  • Rearing healthy, uniform pullets with a robust gut is important for lifetime performance.
  • Natural oregano essential oil has been shown to be beneficial in supporting gut health and subsequent poultry performance (Sugiharto, 2016).
  • Orego-Stim is a high quality, plant based eubiotic, containing 100% natural oregano essential oil.
TRIAL DESIGN

An independent trial was conducted by North Carolina State University, USA using Dekalb White chicks from day-old. Chicks were allocated to one of two treatment groups detailed below (Figure 1). The aim of the trial was to determine the effect of Orego-Stim fed throughout rearing on pullet performance and body composition.

Figure 1. Trial design schematic. Chicks were assigned to one of two treatments at day-old: no in-feed additives fed during rearing (Control); or Orego-Stim fed throughout rearing at 300g/t (Orego-Stim).

Pullets were housed in conventional cages with 26 pullets per cage during rearing (0.031m2/hen) with 18 replicates per treatment throughout. Pullets were reared to meet breed guidelines for body weight. Pullet weight and feed intake was measured once every 2 weeks during rearing. A subset of pullets were analysed for body composition at the end of rearing.

Average body weight coefficient of variation (CV%) of pullets fed Control or Orego-Stim diets

Figure 2. Average body weight coefficient of variation (CV%) of pullets fed Control or Orego-Stim diets. Average CV% of pullet body weight from 0-16 weeks.

Pullets supplemented with Orego-Stim had significantly greater shank length and rear quarter percentage

Figure 3. Pullets supplemented with Orego-Stim had significantly greater shank length and rear quarter percentage. Error bars represent the SEM. a,b Superscripts that differ are significantly different (p<0.05). Rear quarter as a percentage of live body weight.

  • Body weight did not differ throughout rearing as pullets were grown to breed guidelines.
  • However, flock uniformity of body weight was 17.4% less variable overall in pullets supplemented with Orego-Stim (Figure 2).
  • Shank length and rear quarter percentage were significantly greater in Orego-Stim fed pullets compared to control pullets (Figure 3). This may potentially improve pullet calcium storage capacity and readiness for shell production during laying.
  • Orego-Stim supplementation provides a natural tool to support the rearing of healthy, uniform pullets.