Effect of enzyme addition to wheat-, barley- and rye-based diets on nutrient digestibility and performance of laying hens.Br Poult Sci. 2003 May; 44(2):256-65.BP
1. Laying hen performance, egg quality, intestinal viscosity and nutrient apparent digestibility were evaluated with respect to the main cereal used in the diet and dosage rate of a fungal beta-glucanase/xylanase enzyme complex. 2. Twelve diets were arranged factorially, with three soluble fibre cereals (SFC); 500 g/kg of wheat or barley or 350 g/kg of rye, and 4 enzyme concentrations (0, 250, 1250 and 2500 mg/kg). An additional control diet based on maize was also included. 3. The use of SFC in the diet instead of maize did not affect egg production or food efficiency, but hens fed on SFC diets exhibited a higher incidence of dirty eggs than hens fed on the maize diet (8-6 vs 4.6%; P<0.01). 4. Laying hens fed on enzyme-supplemented diets produced more eggs (2.1%; P<0.05) and had better food efficiency per dozen eggs (2.5%; P<005) than hens fed on non-supplemented diets. An excess of enzymes in the diet (10 times the recommended dose) did not produce any deleterious effect on laying hen productivity. 5. Enzyme supplementation (ES) reduced intestinal viscosity (P<0.001) and the incidence of dirty eggs (P<0.01). The reduction in viscosity was more pronounced in barley than in wheat or rye diets (P<0.05). 6. Apparent nutrient digestibility in SFC diets was higher with ES, including dry matter (3.1%; P=0.08), fat (4.4%; P<0.001), non-starch polysaccharides (83.3%; P<0.01) and AMEn (2.5%, P<0.01). 7. It is concluded that substitution of maize by SFC is facilitated by ES, especially with respect to egg production, food conversion efficiency and egg shell cleanliness. An excess of enzymes did not produce any deleterious effect on nutrient digestibility or performance of laying hens.