When are layers at risk to develop FLS?
Despite good knowledge being available on laying hen nutrition, fatty liver syndrome in poultry cannot completely be prevented in highly productive layers. Fatty livers in poultry can occur at two different moments in the laying cycle:
- During peak production, young laying hens are not always able to increase their feed intake to such a level that it meets the energy requirements for egg production. As a result, they will start to convert carbohydrates to fatty acids, a process which takes place in the liver. If transport of fatty acids out of the liver cannot match production, fat starts to accumulate in the liver resulting in FLS.
- At the end of the laying cycle, lower egg production results in lower energy requirement of the birds. If feed intake is not reduced excess carbohydrate is metabolised into fatty acids in the liver. This may result in an increase in fat deposition in the liver resulting in FLS.