Laying hens: FRA Gut Balance improves gut morphology

New trial results show that FRA Gut Balance is able to improve gut morphology and performance of laying hens under low pathogenic pressure.

The intestinal epithelium is organized into villi-crypt units to maximize the surface area for nutrient absorption. Stem cells in the crypt of the intestinal epithelium renew itself every few days. Cells originating from the crypt move upwards and form the villi. A decrease in crypt depth indicates a faster renewal of the epithelium. An improved ratio between villi height and crypt depth indicates a larger surface for nutrient absorption, which generally induces a positive effect on laying hen performance.

FRA Gut Balance

At the start of the adaptation period no differences were observed in villi height, crypt depth and VH:CD ratio, proving all layers had the same initial histological state. After 20 weeks of supplementing FRA Gut Balance to the diet, villi height was numerically increased by approximately 11%. Crypt depth was significantly decreased by 3.7% and in combination with longer villi, the VH:CD ratio was significantly improved by almost 15%. Although in this trial only the effect on the ileum was studied, it is assumed that FRA Gut Balance had a positive effect on gut morphology of the duodenum and jejunum, resulting in overall improved gut development and consequently better animal performance.

Daily feed intake was numerically decreased by 2.5% in the treatment group. Feed conversion ratio per dozen eggs was numerically improved with 4.3 points when FRA Gut Balance was administrated to the feed. Feed conversion ratio per gram of egg mass was significantly improved with 8.7 points in the treatment group.

The positive effects on FCR proved that layers in the treatment group used feed more efficiently for egg production. Based on the improved ileum morphology, it is expected that the improved feed efficiency was the result of increased surface area for nutrient absorption in the upper part of the intestine.


The aim of this trial was to study the effect of FRA Gut Balance on gut development and performance in laying hens aging from 51 to 70 weeks of life. The product improved crypt depth and VH:CD ratio in the ileum. It is suggested that gut morphology was also improved in the upper part of the intestine, as feed was used more efficiently by the laying hens in the treatment group. This was indicated by the improved feed conversion ratio per gram of egg mass (-8.7 points). Hence, it can be concluded that under low pathogenic pressure FRA Gut Balance is able to improve gut morphology and performance of laying hens.

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