Improve your business by managing Fatty Liver Syndrome

Why is FLS a problem in breeders?

Even in well managed flocks, FLS occurs if there is a mismatch between energy intake and energy requirements.

  • If the energy intake is below requirement, the liver will start metabolising carbohydrates into fatty acids.
    These fatty acids need to be transported to the ovaries to support egg production, but if transport out of the liver cannot match the extra production, accumulation of fat in the liver leads to fatty liver disease.
  • If the energy intake is above requirement, the liver does not have the capacity to metabolise the total amount of carbohydrates in the diet. This leads to accumulation of fat in the liver resulting in FLS.

FLS in breeders can occur at any stage during the laying cycle, with an increased risk at peak production and at the end of the laying cycle.

Identifying FLS in breeders

A drop in egg production in combination with an increase in mortality is suggestive of FLS, but these signs can be observed as a result of many other problems. Inspection of the birds may sometimes reveal:

  • Pale combs
  • Sunken eyes
  • Increased amounts of fat covering the internal organs

A final decision can be made by visual inspection of the liver. In some cases, it may be necessary to send liver samples to a lab for testing.


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Once I have identified FLS, how do I control it?

FLS is multifactorial; many different risk factors can play a role.

Questions about FLS?

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