Evaluation of limit feeding corn and distillers dried grains with solubles in non-feed-withdrawal molt programs for laying hens

L. Mejia , E. T. Meyer , P. L. Utterback , C. W. Utterback , C. M. Parsons , and K. W. Koelkebeck

Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana 61801

An experiment was conducted using 504 Hy-Line W-36 Single Comb White Leghorn hens (69 wk of age) randomly assigned to 1 of 7 treatments. These treatments consisted of a 47% corn:47% soy hulls diet (C:SH) fed ad libitum; a 94% corn diet fed at a rate of 36.3, 45.4, or 54.5 g/hen per day (CORN 36, CORN 45, and CORN 54, respectively); and a 94% corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) diet fed at the same rates as the previous corn diets (DDGS 36, DDGS 45, and DDGS 54, respectively) during the molt period of 28 d. The intent was to feed the DDGS diets for 28 d; however, all hens on these diets had very low feed intakes and greater than anticipated BW loss. Thus, they were switched to a 16% CP corn-soybean meal layer diet on d 19 of the molt period. At d 28, hens on all treatments were fed the same corn-soybean meal layer diet for 39 wk (73 to 112 wk of age). All DDGS diets and the CORN 36 diet resulted in total cessation of egg production during the molt period and egg production of hens fed the CORN 45, CORN 54, and C:SH diets had decreased to 3 and 4%, respectively, by d 28. Body weight loss during the 28-d molt period ranged from 14% for the CORN 54 diet to approximately 23% for the 3 DDGS diets. Postmolt egg production (5 to 43 wk) was higher for hens fed the DDGS molt diets than those fed the corn diets. There were no consistent differences in egg mass, egg-specific gravity, feed efficiency, or layer feed consumption among molt treatments for the postmolt period. These results indicate that limit feeding corn diet and DDGS diet in non-feedwithdrawal molt programs will yield long-term postmolt performance that is comparable to that observed by ad libitum feeding a C:SH diet.