Adaptive capacity of rearing hens : effects of early life conditions

I. Walstra

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

The traditional strategy to deal with pathogens in the layer industry is based on monitoring and control methods, primarily aimed at minimizing the risk of infection with the pathogen. The aim of this thesis was to investigate whether the adaptive capacity of layers could be influenced by early life conditions as they may occur in layer practice, as an alternative strategy for improving layer health and disease resistance. The first study investigated whether suboptimal versus optimal incubation, hatch and early rearing conditions could influence the adaptive capacity during infectious challenges with Eimeria and Infectious Bronchitis (IB). The second study investigated effects of prenatal high temperature manipulation on postnatal temperature preference and adaptive response of layers to heat stress. The third study investigated effects of suboptimal and optimal incubation temperature on the adaptive response to Eimeria under normal circumstances or following exposure to a high (35oC) environmental temperature. The fourth study investigated effects of feed provision immediately after hatch (early feeding) and suppression of gram negative intestinal bacteria (by use of the antibiotic Colistin) for 21 d post hatch on microbial composition of the intestines, layer development and response to a mix challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and humane serum albumin (HuSA). Finally, effects of early feeding and Colistin treatment on organ weights and response to an infectious challenge with Eimeria were investigated. Results demonstrated that optimized incubation, hatch and rearing resulted in a better adaptive response to Eimeria and IB, as was shown by a higher feed intake and reduced weight loss. Optimal incubation as a single early life condition also had a positive influence on the adaptive response of layers toEimeria, as demonstrated by tendencies to higher feed intake and BW gain, less duodenal lesions and a lower oocyst production. Early feeding resulted in higher body and organ weights, a  changed microbiota composition in the intestines, and a changed response to E. acervulina and LPS/HuSA. Colistin treatment resulted in a changed microbiota composition of the intestines and a changed response to E. acervulina and LPS/HuSA. These results confirmed the hypothesis that early life conditions can be used to influence the adaptive capacity to infectious challenges. In conclusion, improving the adaptive capacity with the use of particular early life conditions may  be the first step towards an alternative method to maintain or improve layer health and disease resistance.

  

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kemp, Bas, Promotor
  • van den Brand, Henry, Co-promotor
  • ten Napel, Jan, Co-promotor
Award date16 Dec 2011
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789461731265
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • hens
  • rearing techniques
  • incubation
  • hatching
  • embryogenesis
  • experimental infection
  • heat stress
  • immune response
  • immunology
  • adaptation physiology

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