Energy Partitioning and Thyroid Hormone Levels During Salmonella enteritidis Infections in Pullets with High or Low Residual Feed Intake

E. van Eerden, H. van den Brand, M.J.W. Heetkamp, M.P. Decuypere, B. Kemp

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment was conducted to investigate whether feed efficiency, as measured by residual feed intake as a phenotypic trait, affects energy partitioning in pullets that have received Salmonella inoculation as an immune challenge. In each of 8 trials, energy partitioning was measured during 5 wk in 15-wk-old efficient (R¿) and nonefficient (R+) pullets, which were housed per efficiency group in 2 identical climate respiration chambers. After 1 wk of adaptation, the pullets in 4 trials were orally inoculated with 108 cfu of Salmonella enteritidis; pullets in the remaining trials were not inoculated and served as controls. Heat production was calculated from continuous recordings of O2 consumption and CO2 production. Energy and N partitioning were recorded on a weekly basis. Blood samples for analyses on thyroid hormones were taken at 16, 17, and 19 wk of age. There were no interactions between efficiency type and Salmonella treatment or Salmonella treatment effects in energy partitioning, except for a short-term increase in heat production in inoculated pullets. Nonefficient pullets had higher gross energy and ME intake, higher estimated ME for maintenance, lower ME:gross energy ratio, and higher total heat production and nonactivity-related heat production compared with R¿ pullets. Triiodothyronine levels in R+ pullets were higher at 16 and 17 wk but were lower at 19 wk of age compared with R¿ pullets. Thyroxine levels were higher in R¿ at 16 wk and showed interactions between efficiency type and Salmonella treatment at 17 and 19 wk of age. Body weights and spleen weights did not differ between efficiency groups. Nonefficient pullets had higher heart, liver, and ovary weights and more large yellow follicles than R¿ pullets. There were no Salmonella effects on body and organ weights. We conclude that R+ pullets have a faster running energy metabolism and that they put more resources into organ development than R¿ pullets. Inoculation with Salmonella has a short-term effect on nonactivity-related heat production but does not affect energy partitioning, regardless of efficiency type
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1775-1783
Number of pages9
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • growing layer hens
  • laying hens
  • food-consumption
  • divergent selection
  • growth-hormone
  • egg-production
  • body-weight
  • efficiency
  • chicken
  • lines


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