Evaluation of Hemp Seed Products to Ameliorate Fatty Liver Disease and Reduce Cannibalism in Laying Hens

Laying hens need a reliable source of protein and energy for egg production and maintenance that does not induce fatty liver disease (FLD). As egg production moves in the direction of group housing scenarios, more management techniques, including nutritional management, that reduce losses due to feather pecking and cannibalism will also be required. Hemp has anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent FLD. It has anti-microbial properties that may positively affect the gut microbiome of chickens. This may be of interest for hens not housed in conventional cages, thus more susceptible to pathogens. Hemp contains omega-3 fatty acids and CBD, which could positively affect the fatty acid profile of eggs. CBD also has a calming effect in animals and may reduce the incidence of feather pecking and cannibalism in laying hens housed in alternative housing conditions.The project will include two feeding trials. One trial will be conducted in conventional cage housing to measure the effects of hemp by-products inclusion on fatty liver disease and the potential benefits to the current laying industry. The second trial will be held in an alternative housing system which will meet the requirements of the future Canadian industry after the removal of all conventional cages by 2036.

Jessica Gill;Victoria MacKintosh;Jing (Jessica) Wang;Bonita McCuaig
Faculty Supervisor: 
Stephanie Collins
Nova Scotia
Partner University: