The Effects of Tryptophan and Probiotic Treatment on Behavior and Production Parameters of Laying Hens

Thumbnail Image

Publication or External Link





Dietary supplementation can impact behavior expression through microorganism’s activity in the gut microbiome and influence productivity in animal husbandry. Adding supplements to production animals’ diet can impact behaviors and productivity via gut-brain axis activity. We investigated the effects of either probiotic or antibiotic supplementation in addition to the effects of additional tryptophan (Trp) on overall behavior and production parameters. White Leghorn chickens (n=12) were supplemented with six dietary treatments in a 2 x 3 factorial design: probiotics (1 x 109 CFU/L) or the antibiotic erythromycin (125 mg/L) in combination with either normal (0.16%) or high (0.48%) Trp in drinking water. Results indicate that probiotics with tryptophan increased locomotion (P = 0.04), social (P = 0.04), and eating behavior (P = 0.02). Antibiotics with tryptophan increased fat pad (P = 0.04) and heart weight (P = 0.04). Supplementation affected behavioral expression of normal, comfort, and pecking behavior, potentially impacted by metabolic competition at the level of the gut microbiome.