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Title: Impact of on-range choice feeding with black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) on flock performance, egg quality, and range use of free-range laying hens
Contributor(s): Ruhnke, Isabelle  (author)orcid ; Normant, Camille (author); Campbell, Dana L M  (author); Iqbal, Zafar  (author); Lee, Caroline  (author); Hinch, Geoff N  (author)orcid ; Roberts, Julie  (author)
Publication Date: 2018-12
Early Online Version: 2018-04-04
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.aninu.2018.03.005Open Access Link
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Abstract: Semi-intensive free-range farm systems are common in Australia, and these systems frequently practise on-range feeding. The objective of this study was to investigate the benefit of on-range choice feeding on flock performance, egg quality, and range use of free-range laying hens using black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens, BSF). A total of 160 mature ISA brown laying hens, previously determined to range daily, were allocated to a control group (control) or a treatment group (BSF) with various replicates depending on the parameter investigated. All hens were fed ad libitum indoors with a wheat-soy based diet formulated according to breed requirements. Black soldier fly hens were offered dried BSF larvae ad libitum on the range. Body weight, feed intake, BSF intake, egg production, feed conversion ratio, internal and external egg quality parameters, and individual range use using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology was evaluated. Black soldier fly hens consumed on average 15 ± 1.7 g BSF larvae/hen per day. There were no differences between BSF and control hens for any of the performance parameters obtained (P > 0.05). Egg weight, shell weight, and shell thickness of eggs from BSF hens were significantly lower (P = 0.003, P = 0.001, and P = 0.004, respectively) than those of eggs from control hens. Egg yolk colour was significantly paler in eggs from BSF hens (P < 0.001). No significant ranging differences between the BSF and control hens were observed (P > 0.05) except for BSF hens showing longer total maximum time for a single visit to the range (P = 0.011). In conclusion, the average intake of BSF larvae indicated a good level of acceptance. Feed formulation should be adjusted for the intake of the choice fed source. The impact of choice-feeding on range use was minor.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Nutrition, 4(4), p. 452-460
Publisher: Zhongguo Xumu Shouyi Xuehui, Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine
Place of Publication: China
ISSN: 2405-6383
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070204 Animal Nutrition
070203 Animal Management
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300303 Animal nutrition
300302 Animal management
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830309 Poultry
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100411 Poultry
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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