Animal Science Department


First Advisor

Sheila E. Purdum

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Animal Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Sheila E. Purdum. Lincoln, NE: March, 2017

Copyright 2017 Ashley Bigge


Two studies were conducted to determine the effects of two different feed additives on the performance of laying hens. Study 1 examined the effects of non-starch polysaccharide degrading enzyme inclusion in a low energy diet. Study 2 examined the effects of supplementing a paramylon zinc polysaccharide complex at increasing concentrations. Both studies utilized a randomized complete block design for treatment assignment, and data were analyzed using the Glimmix procedure in SAS 9.4 for windows.

The first study took place July 2014 to March 2015 and consisted of two phases. Each phase tested a positive control, negative control with lower ME and nutrient density, and two different xylanases as supplements to the negative control diet. There were 72 cages with 3 Bovan White Leghorns per cage used for this study. Data for percent egg production, feed intake, bodyweight, egg mass, and feed conversion were collected. Significant differences were seen for all parameters (p≤0.05) except egg production (phase 1: p=0.47; phase 2: p=0.54) and baseline bodyweight (p=0.63). The enzymes did not improve the performance of the birds fed the low ME negative control diet up to the level of those fed the positive control.

The second study occurred from June to October 2015 and used 36 cages with 3 Hy-Line Brown Leghorn hens per cage. There were 4 treatments tested, including a control and three diets with increasing dosage of AlgamuneTM ZPC (at 100, 200, and 300 g/ton), a paramylon zinc polysaccharide complex. Recorded parameters included percent egg production, feed intake, egg weights and components, yolk color, egg mass, feed conversion, bodyweight, eggshell breaking strength, and egg nutrient analysis. There were no significant differences among treatments (p≤0.05), however egg omega-3 fatty acid content was approaching significance comparing the low and high levels of paramylon supplementation (p=0.0688). The AlgamuneTM ZPC did not negatively affect performance and may be considered safe to supplement as a source of omega-3 and Zn to poultry at the levels tested in this study.

Advisor: Sheila E. Purdum