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Effect of Single or Combined Climatic and Hygienic Stress in Four Layer Lines: 1. Performance

Star, L., Kemp, B., Anker, I. van den, Parmentier, H.K.
Poultry science 2008 v.87 no.6 pp. 1022-1030
breeding lines, lipopolysaccharides, laying hens, humoral immunity, heat tolerance, heat stress, liveweight gain, animal housing, genotype-environment interaction, feed intake, egg production, mortality, climatic factors, hygiene, stress tolerance
Effects of long-term climatic stress (heat exposure), short-term hygienic stress [lipopolysaccharide (LPS)], or a combination of both challenges on performance of 4 layer lines were investigated. The lines were earlier characterized by natural humoral immune competence and survival rate. At 22 wk of age, 80 hens per line were randomly divided over 2 identical climate chambers and exposed to a constant high temperature (32°C) or a control temperature (21°C) for 23 d. Half of the hens housed in each chamber were i.v. injected with LPS at d 1 after the start of the heat stress period. The effect of heat, LPS, or a combined challenge on feed intake, BW, hen-day egg production, egg weight, and egg shell thickness were investigated. Feed intake, BW, hen-day egg production, egg weight, and egg shell thickness were significantly reduced by heat stress. Administration of LPS significantly reduced feed intake, BW (LPS x time interaction), hen-day egg production, and egg weight (LPS x time interaction). Hens were able to recover from LPS administration but did not completely adapt to heat stress. Hens still lost weight, had a lower feed intake and hen-day egg production after 23 d of continuous exposure to heat stress. These data suggest a different nature of short-term LPS exposure versus long-term heat exposure affecting performance parameters of laying hens, and different adaptation mechanisms of hens toward these stressors. Neither natural humoral immune competence nor survival rate, for which the lines had been earlier characterized, were indicative of the response to different stressors. However, significant line x heat interactions were found for feed intake and hen-day egg production, and a line x heat x time interaction for BW, whereas a line x LPS interaction was found for hen-day egg production and a line x LPS x time interaction for BW. The lines had similar response patterns, but differed in response levels, suggesting that some lines were better able to adapt to stressors than others.