The effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (JB-1) and Saccharomyces boulardii on cecal motility in feather-pecking laying hens
Feather pecking (FP) is an important behavioral problem in laying hens with welfare and economic implications. It was hypothesized that differences in the microbiome of pecking (P) and non-pecking (NP) birds cause differences in cecal motility and consequently differences in feed passage time observed in peckers. We compared cecal motility in an organ bath system in P and NP birds using different microbial treatments (Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 and Saccharomyces boulardii). Contractions of cecal segments from 30 birds were recorded and analyzed (DMaple©) to measure frequency, velocity, and amplitude of peristalsis. Data were analyzed using GLIMMIX in SAS. This in vitro system successfully measured motility in birds. In P birds, there was a positive correlation between pecking bouts and velocity and the microbe treatments significantly lowered velocity. Microbial treatment decreased frequency of contractions. Future work may include in vivo studies to investigate potential behavioural or welfare implications of these results.