Effect of Snack Food By-product Inclusion on Production of Laying Hens

Expired snack food has the potential to be used as an alternative feedstuff for layers in the future, according to new research from Michigan State University. Researchers found no adverse effects on egg production when including the product at levels up to nine per cent of the diet.
calendar icon 27 July 2012
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The increased interest in becoming green for consumers and companies is driving groups to develop innovative ways to become more efficient and reduce their waste, according to R.C. Van Wyhe and co-authors at Michigan State University. In their paper published recently in Poultry Science, they explain that foods past their expiry dates are large sources of waste and are causing food-manufacturing companies to develop waste disposal strategies.

Integrating by-products from these companies into animal diets, specifically that of laying hens, could be significantly more cost-effective for both the human food manufacturers and the agricultural producers. The objective of their study was to evaluate laying hen diets containing snack food by-product, consisting mostly of expired potato chips, and the effect on hen performance.

In total, 192 White Leghorn laying hens (45 weeks old) were selected from the Michigan State University Poultry Farm. Hens were housed in conventional cages (three birds per cage) and received one of four diets for five weeks:

  • industry control corn-soybean meal
  • control with three per cent by-product
  • control with six per cent by-product, and
  • control with nine per cent by-product.

Diets were formulated to be isocaloric, isonitrogenous and balanced for sodium.

Feed intake was measured for three consecutive days each week, and no overall differences between treatments were observed. However, during the first week, feed intake was significantly higher in birds fed the six and nine per cent diets than those fed the control (P<0.05). Birds fed the six per cent diet had a higher feed intake than the controls again during the fourth week (P<0.01).

Egg production, egg weight and specific gravity were measured weekly. Hen bodyweight was measured on days 1, 14, 28 and 35.

Egg production, egg weight, specific gravity and hen bodyweight were not significantly affected by the addition of snack food by-products to the diet.

Van Wyhe and colleagues concluded that the addition of expired snack food by-product into poultry diets does not significantly affect laying hen egg production and has the potential to be used as an alternative feedstuff in the future.


Van Wyhe R.C., S.E. Fraley, C.A. Szybisty, D.M. Karcher and E.L. Karcher. 2012. Effect of snack food by-product inclusion on production of laying hens. Poult. Sci., 91(6):1406-1409. doi: 10.3382/ps.2011-02041

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July 2012
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