Omega-3 feeding program significantly improves skeletal strength in young pullets

University of Guelph research evaluated effects of feeding omega-3 fatty acids to breeder birds.
Canadian Poultry magazine
June 20, 2019
By Canadian Poultry magazine
Regina's O&T Farms Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Guelph, initiated a series of research projects focused on developmental programming in both broiler and pullet breeding stock.

The purpose of the research, which started in 2017, was to determine the effects of feeding omega-3 fatty acids to breeder birds on reproductive efficiency, embryonic survival, as well as the epigenetic influence on progeny performance, development and overall health.

One stage of this research aimed to evaluate the impacts of maternal and post-hatch feeding of omega-3 fatty acids on skeletal development in pullets.

To test this, the University of Guelph (U of G) designed a trial in which a dry-extruded flaxseed-based omega-3 feed ingredient produced by O&T Farm was included in either the maternal diet, the post-hatch diet, or both.

Reza Akbari, a PhD candidate working on the project, recently presented preliminary data at the Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada (ANCC) in Niagara Falls, Ont..

His findings suggest the maternal feeding of the ingredient can significantly improve skeletal strength in young pullets by nearly 22 per cent compared to the control.

“The results demonstrated effectiveness of maternal and post-hatch feeding of omega-3 fatty acid in support of skeletal strength in young pullets which can greatly reduce poor egg shell quality and skeletal maladies seen in laying hens across all housing types,” said U of G's Elijah Kiarie, assistant professor in poultry nutrition, who led the research.

“The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in stimulating bone, brain, and immune cells development at embryonic through to early phases of the chick’s life could significantly improve productivity and welfare.”

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