DOI: 10.3390/ani13152510 ISSN: 2076-2615

Effects of Traditional Chinese Herbal Feed Additive on Production Performance, Egg Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, Immunity and Intestinal Health of Laying Hens

Baiheng Liu, Ruyue Ma, Qinlin Yang, You Yang, Yuanjing Fang, Zhihong Sun, Daijun Song
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Chinese herbs have been used as feed additives in animal production. This study investigated the effects of a Chinese herbal feed-additive (TCM, which contained Elsholtzia ciliate, Atractylodes macrocephala, Punica granatum pericarpium, and Cyperus rotundus) on the production performance, egg quality, antioxidant capacity, immunity, and intestinal health of Roman laying hens. A total of 720 28-week-old hens were randomly allotted to three groups with six replicates of forty hens each. The groups were fed a basal diet (CON group), a basal diet with 50 mg/kg zinc bacitracin (ABX group), or a basal diet with 400 mg/kg TCM (TCM group) for 56 days. The results showed that the TCM group increased egg production, egg mass, albumen height, and Haugh unit compared with the CON group (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in egg weight, feed intake, feed conversion rate, and eggshell strength among all three groups (p > 0.05). Compared with the CON group, the TCM group enhanced the activities of glutathione peroxidase, total antioxidant capacity, and superoxide dismutase in serum and liver, and reduced malondialdehyde content (p < 0.05). The TCM also increased the levels of interleukin-2, interferon-γ, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin M, and immunoglobulin G, and decreased the levels of interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 compared with the CON group (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the TCM group increased jejunal goblet cell density and decreased ileal crypt depth and lymphocyte density compared with the CON group (p < 0.05). The results of 16S rRNA demonstrated that the TCM can change the diversity and composition of intestinal microbiota. At the phylum level, the abundance of Bacteroides increased while that of Firmicutes decreased in the TCM group (p > 0.05). At the genus level, the abundance of Lactobacillus, Rikenellaceae_RC9_gut_group, and Phascolarctobacterium increased while that of Bacteroides and unclassified_o__Bacteroidales decreased in the TCM group (p > 0.05). The effects of ABX were weaker than those of the TCM. In conclusion, the TCM has positive effects on production performance and the intestinal health of hens.

More from our Archive