Brazil nut meal and spray-dried egg powders as alternatives to synthetic methionine in organic laying hen diets

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Abstract

The United States organic poultry industry is currently facing a limitation on dietary inclusion of synthetic methionine (Met). This study investigated Brazil nut protein powder (BNPP), spray-dried egg white (SDEW), and spray-dried egg blend (70:30 albumen: yolk) (SDEB) as alternatives to synthetic Met in organic laying hen diets. A total of 270 Hy-Line Brown laying hens was fed 5 diets from 22 to 38 wk of age, with 6 replicates of 3 adjacent cages per diet and 3 hens per cage. Diets included a commercial control (COM) (non-organic with standard CP and synthetic Met), an organic control (ORG) (with no synthetic Met, but higher CP to meet Met requirements), and 3 organic treatment diets with no synthetic Met, but including BNPP, SDEW, or SDEB at levels to meet Met requirements. Egg production and quality, body weight (BW), feed intake, and manure nutrients and ammonia were assessed. Data were analyzed using the PROC MIXED procedure of SAS, with Tukey's test used for multiple mean comparisons, and P ≤ 0.05 was deemed statistically significant. Body weight was greatest for the COM diet, and feed conversion improved for hens fed egg-based diets compared to controls. Egg weight and production did not differ between COM and treatment diets. The SDEW diet had greater albumen height and Haugh units compared to ORG and BNPP diets and greater percent albumen compared to COM and BNPP diets. Specific gravity was greatest for BNPP fed hens. Manure DM and potash were highest from COM and BNPP diets, respectively. Both egg-based diets increased ammonia flux relative to the COM diet. The BNPP and egg-based diets were lower in cost for $/metric tonne, $/dozen eggs, and $/kg of eggs compared to the ORG diet. The ingredients assessed herein could, therefore, cost-effectively replace synthetic Met in organic hen diets without negatively impacting egg production.

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