Brassica napus and Brassica juncea extruded-expelled cake and solvent-extracted meal as feedstuffs for laying hens: Lay performance, egg quality, and nutrient digestibility

M.A. Oryschak, M.N. Smit, E. Beltranena, Brassica napus and Brassica juncea extruded-expelled cake and solvent-extracted meal as feedstuffs for laying hens: Lay performance, egg quality, and nutrient digestibility, Poultry Science, Volume 99, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 350-363, ISSN 0032-5791,


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Solvent-extracted canola (Brassica [B.] napus) meal can be fed as a nutritious and cost effective dietary supplemental protein source to laying hens. The level of inclusion of canola meal in layer diets is limited, however, by a relatively high fiber content and anti-nutritional factors. In recent years, there has been an increase of farm-scale canola crushing in Western Canada, which serves as an alternative marketing stream for sub-optimal quality seed. The resulting oilseed cake, which typically ranges from 10 to 15% remaining oil, is then marketed as a higher energy alternative to solvent-extracted oilseed meals. Despite increasing availability of these co-products, there is comparatively little information to support their feeding to laying hens. To our knowledge, no previous study has compared the feeding value of B. juncea and B. napus co-products generated by small-scale oil pressing compared with large-scale solvent-extraction for laying hens. Two experiments (Exp. 1 and Exp. 2) were therefore conducted to compare feeding relatively high dietary inclusions of B. napus and B. juncea extruded-expelled cakes and solvent-extracted meals on performance, egg quality, and nutrient digestibility in laying hens. In Exp. 1, we sought to test the hypothesis that hen productivity and egg quality would not differ among hens fed diets containing 20% of either B. napus and B. juncea extruded-expelled cakes and solvent-extracted meals compared with a barley/wheat-based diet containing no Brassica co-products. In Exp. 2, we tested the hypothesis that nutrient digestibility would not differ for B. napus or B. juncea extruded-expelled cakes or solvent-extracted meals fed to laying hens.


Solvent-extracted B. napus (NM) and B. juncea (JM) meals and extruded-expelled B. napus (NC) and B. juncea (JC) cakes were obtained. For Exp. 1, test diets were fed over 2 production phases (weeks 1 to 24 and weeks 25 to 36 of lay, respectively) and were formulated to provide similar levels of AME, crude fat, CP and digestible Lys to AME ratio. For the digestibility experiment (Exp. 2), diets fed in mash form consisted of a basal and test diets comprising 30% NM, JM, NC, or JC blended with 70% basal diet for a total of 5 treatments. Diets in Exp. 2 included titanium dioxide as an indigestible marker. Experiment 1: Beginning at 20 wk of age, layers were fed one of 5 test diets over a 36-wk production cycle. Laying hens were weighed on d 0 and at the end of each 4-wk period. Feed disappearance was measured for each cage. Eggs laid within a 24-h period were counted and individually weighed for each cage to calculate average egg weight. Eggs collected between days 68 and 70 were broken out. Wet weights of shell, albumen and yolk were recorded. Experiment 2: At 59 wk of age, hens from the Exp. 1 (n = 103) were combined with an additional 137 Brown Nick and were randomly redistributed among 60 cages in the battery for 4 hens per cage. All cages were then offered a standard layer ration ad libitum for an additional 7 d. On day 8, feeders were emptied and paired cages then had ad libitum access to one of the 5 digestibility test diets for a 7-d period. On the afternoon of day 13, labeled plastic trays were placed on the manure belt underneath each test cage to collect excreta for a 36-h period. On the morning of day 15, layers were humanely euthanized. Digesta from ileo-cecal junction and excreta were pooled to produce a single specimen of each per test cage and submitted for lab analysis.

Analysis of Results

Cakes contained numerically lower moisture and CP compared with the respective meals whereas fat content was greater. Cakes and JM had similar fiber content but lower than NM. Cakes and JM also had lower AA content than NM.
Experiment 1: There was no effect of diet on rate of lay for the overall trial or any 4 wk period of Exp. 1. Hen BW was not affected by diet. Hens fed the control diet consumed less (P < 0.05) feed compared with hens fed Brassica-containing diets in the first 8 wk of the experiment, but not thereafter. Overall, eggs from hens fed the NM diet were heavier than those from controls (P < 0.01). Feeding of NC, JM, or JC resulted in lighter eggs than those from layers fed the control diet (P < 0.01). Experiment 2: Feeding Brassica diets depressed ATTD of dry matter (P < 0.01), gross energy (P < 0.01) and AID of CP (P < 0.01) compared with controls. The AID of most essential AA, with the exception of tryptophan, was reduced feeding Brassica diets compared with controls (P < 0.01). The AID of tryptophan was increased feeding Brassica diets compared with controls (P < 0.05). Brassica cakes had greater (P < 0.05) ATTD of both DM and gross energy than NM, but NM had greater (P < 0.05) AID of arginine, histidine, lysine, methionine, and sulfur AA than NC. Brassica cakes averaged 32% greater AME values than meals.


The present study demonstrated that Brassica cakes and meals can be fed to laying hens at dietary inclusions up to 20% without adverse effects on hen productivity or egg quality. It was further demonstrated that while the AID of AA in all co-products was moderately high (>70%), further investigation is required to relate pre-press quality indicators in the seed to nutrient digestibility of the post-press co-products that result.


Two experiments evaluated feeding Brassica (B.) napus (canola) or B. juncea co-products to brown-shelled egg laying hens. In Exp. 1, diets including 20% B. napus or B. juncea extruded-expelled cakes (NC, JC) or solvent-extracted meals (NM, JM) compared to a control diet with no Brassica co-products, were fed to 120 hens (4 hens/cage, n = 6) for 36 wk. In Exp. 2, DM, gross energy, CP and amino acid (AA) retention/digestibility was determined by feeding diets containing 30% B. napus or B. juncea cakes or meals and basal diet to 240 hens (8 hens/pair of cages, n = 6) for 7 d. Cakes averaged 40 g/kg lower moisture, 28 g/kg lower CP, and 84 g/kg greater fat content compared with meals. In Exp. 1, there was no effect of diet on lay percentage or BW throughout the experiment. Feed consumption was 3.5 g/d lower in layers fed JM compared with controls and egg: feed was reduced by 14 mg egg/g feed in layers fed JC (P < 0.01). Although eggs from layers fed NM were 0.7 g heavier than controls, eggs from layers fed NC, JM or JC were 1.4 g lighter than controls (P < 0.01). Eggs from layers fed Brassica diets contained a greater proportion (1.6%-points) of monounsaturated fatty acids compared with controls (P < 0.01). Eggs from layers fed B. juncea had a relatively greater proportion (0.2%-points) of C18:3 (n3) compared with those of layers fed B. napus diets (P < 0.01). Feeding Brassica diets reduced digestibility of DM (5%-points), gross energy (7%-points) and CP (4%-points) vs. basal (P < 0.01). The digestibility of indispensable AA except tryptophan, was reduced feeding Brassica diets vs. basal (P < 0.01). We concluded that feeding B. napus and B. juncea extruded-expelled cakes and solvent-extracted meal at 20% of diets to hens supported acceptable lay performance and egg quality over a 36 wk production cycle. Digestibility data indicated that indispensable AA in Brassica co-products had moderately high (75 to 85%) apparent ileal digestibility.