Feed ingredient prices and competition for grains have increased interest in the use of high levels of DDGS in poultry diets. This study evaluated the effects of including 25 and 35% DDGS in corn-soybean meal diets with or without PN Grower Broiler premix (Alltech, Inc.) on the productive performance and egg quality of laying hens from 27 to 50 weeks of production.
A total of 288 Hy-Line W-36® hens were randomly allocated to 5 dietary treatment groups with 12 birds per replicate. At 16 weeks of age, hens were fed the following diets: 1) corn soybean meal (positive control), 2) 25% DDGS, 3) 25% DDGS plus PN premix, 4) 35% DDGS, and 5) 35% DDGS plus PN premix. Diets were formulated to meet NRC recommendations with reduced available P (0.29 vs. 0.19%) and Ca (4.2 vs. 4.1%) in DDGS diets. At 27 weeks of production, protein levels in the diets were reduced from 18 to 16% CP. Six eggs were collected per replicate every 4 weeks for egg quality analysis.
During wk 34 of production, diets with 35% DDGS reduced yolk weight (P = 0.002). However, no significant treatment effects were noted on egg weight, Haugh units, percent shell, shell breaking strength, and yolk weight parameters averaged over 27 to 50 weeks of production. Inclusion of DDGS decreased lightness (L*) values and increased red (a*) yolk color values (P < 0.001). Addition of 25% DDGS to the diets increased yellow (b*) yolk color values (P = 0.001) when compared with the control and 35% DDGS diets.
Overall hen day production was not affected by dietary treatment. However, feed intake (P = 0.01) and feed per dozen eggs (P = 0.02) increased with the addition of dietary DDGS from 27 to 50 weeks. At wk 50 of production, inclusion of 35% DDGS decreased (P = 0.02) body weight when compared with the control and returned to control level with the addition of the PN premix. This experiment indicates inclusion of up to 35% DDGS does not have a significant negative effect on egg production and egg quality from 27 to 50 weeks of production, and that addition of PN premix to 35% DDGS diets may alleviate negative effects on body weight.