O&T Farms Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Guelph in Ontario, initiated a series of research projects focused on developmental programming in both broiler and pullet breeding stock that started in 2017.
The purpose of the research was to determine the effects of feeding omega-3 fatty acids to breeder birds on reproductive efficiency and embryonic survival as well as on the epigenetic influence on progeny performance, development and overall health, the company said in an announcement.
One stage of this research aimed to evaluate the effects of maternal and post-hatch feeding of omega-3 fatty acids on skeletal development in pullets. To test this, the University of Guelph designed a trial in which a dry-extruded, flaxseed-based omega-3 feed ingredient produced by O&T Farms (LinPRO) was included in either the maternal diet, the post-hatch diet or both.
Reza Akbari, a doctoral candidate working on the project, presented preliminary data May 15 at the Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada in Niagara Falls, Ont., that suggest that the maternal feeding of extruded flaxseed can significantly improve skeletal strength in young pullets by nearly 22% 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 eggshell quality and skeletal maladies seen in laying hens across all housing types,” said University of Guelph assistant professor in poultry nutrition Dr. Elijah Kiarie, who led the research. “The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in stimulating bone, brain and immune cell development at embryonic through to early phases of the chick’s life could significantly improve productivity and welfare.”
O&T Farms manufactures several highly digestible and stable omega-3 animal feed ingredients, blending flaxseed and pulses through a patented dry-extrusion process.