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Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science

versión impresa ISSN 0864-0408versión On-line ISSN 2079-3480

Cuban J. Agric. Sci. vol.54 no.1 Mayabeque ene.-mar. 2020  Epub 01-Mar-2020



Evaluation of concentrated vinasse as additive in replacement pullets

Katia Hidalgo1  * 

M. Valdivié1 

R. Bocourt1 

L. Mora1 

1Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Apartado Postal No. 24, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba


In order to evaluate concentrated vinasse as additive in productive and reproductive indicators of replacement pullets, 960 White Leghorn L33 pullets, between 1 and 18 weeks old, were used. A diet with corn and soybean was used, with the addition of 0, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 % of concentrated vinasse of sugar cane per pullet/day, calculated based on dry matter. Weights at the end of rearing were below the standards, due to the early sexual maturity reached by the pullets at 18 weeks. Viability and uniformity of animals were excellent in all treatments, in a range between 93.73 and 97.28 %, and from 94.15 to 97.49, respectively. However, they were superior for 1 % of vinasse inclusion. In reproductive indicators, with the increase of the level of inclusion, the ovary weight also increased (1.88, 3.63, 4.63 and 5.88 g), as well as the number of follicles (>2 mm). The length of the oviduct of pullets had the same performance, with a dependence between growth and inclusion level. All this allowed to start the laying between 17 and 18 weeks. These results demonstrate that including concentrated vinasse as additive in the diet of replacement pullets allows to obtain animals with early sexual maturity and better preparation for future egg production.

Key words: pullets; distillery wastes; reproductive indicators; productive performance


Eggs production contributes, at a large extent, to food security. It is a process managed through different productive systems and requires a proper balance of nutrients to be efficient (Bernal et al. 2017). All this is possible due to the genetic improvement of laying hens, which propitiates a reduction of the development period and a marked precocity. This means a strict nutrition management, so the ideal potential of the future layer can be achieved.

In the last 30 years, poultry production in Cuba has been one of the best in terms of growth. This has classified the island as one of the 45 countries with the largest egg production in the world, and locates it among the 25 most consumers. The main productive strategies in the country are aimed to egg production with the best quality and at the lowest possible cost. At the same time, it stimulates scientific development for obtaining autochthonous products without varying the demanded quality (Grandía et al. 2016).

Therefore, it is necessary to develop and evaluate national products with competitive quality in the global market. For this, it should be considered the effectiveness in the improvement of productive indicators, stimulation in immunological response, as well prevention of infectious diseases and environmental care. In Cuba, there is an emphasis on the evaluation of by-products or residues from agroindustrial activities (Milián et al. 2012).

Hidalgo et al. (2017) studied distillery vinasse composition for further use in animal production. These authors stated that this product is composed by organic acids, yeasts, vitamins and minerals, which have been classified as food additives. Bonato and Barbalho (2017) refer that yeast from alcohol production contains around 35 % of beta-glucans, which are known as modulators or stimulants of the immune system.

The objective of this study was to evaluate distillery concentrated vinasse as additive in productive and reproductive indicators of replacement pullets.

Materials and Methods

The experiment was performed in the facilities of the Instituto de Ciencia Animal, San José de las Lajas municipality, Mayabeque, Cuba. Vinasse was obtained from the factory “Havana Club International”, from San José de las Lajas. This product had a pH of 4.5 and 24 °Brix during all the experimentation.

This study used 960 White Leghorn (L33) pullets, from 1 to 18 weeks old, distributed at a rate of 30 pullets/cage. Treatments consisted of the addition of different percentages (0, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0) of concentrated vinasse of sugar cane, as additive in diets formulated for replacement pullets during the stage of beginning, growth, development and before laying. For calculating inclusion levels, dry matter of diet and vinasse was considered. During all the experiment, the product was sprinkled over the diet every morning.

Feeding system was manually performed, at will, according to recommendations of Rostagno et al. (2017), as shown in table 1. Drinking water for animals was offered at will, 24 h, in nipple drinkers.

Table 1 Composition of diets and contribution on humid basis (HB) for replacement pullets  

Ingredients (%) Beginning (0-6 weeks) Growth (7-8 weeks) Development (9-16 weeks) Before laying (17-18 weeks)
Corn meal 55.13 58.00 56.79 56.57
Soy bean meal 37.90 29.46 15.28 25.20
Vegetal oil 2.000 1.000 0.750 1.000
Wheat bran - 6.500 22.40 10.00
Salt 0.350 0.350 0.350 0.300
DL-Methionine 0.100 0.050 0.200 0.180
Monoclacium phosphate 1.690 1.550 1.250 1.300
Calcium carbonate 1.700 1.960 1.850 4.450
Choline 0.130 0.130 0.130 -
Vitamin1 and minerals2 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000
Calculated composition (%)
ME (MJ/kg) 12.13 11.92 11.71 11.63
CP 21.03 18.53 14.50 17.05
Ca 1.05 1.11 1.00 2.00
Available P 0.48 0.45 0.40 0.40
Methionine + cystine 0.75 0.67 0.67 0.74
Lysine 1.15 1.08 0.77 0.97

(1) Vitamin supplementation: vitamin A, 10000 UI; vitamin D3, 2000 UI; vitamin E, 10 mg; vitamin K3, 2 mg; thiamine, 1 mg; riboflavin, 5 mg; pyridoxine, 2 mg; vitamin B12, 15.4 μg; nicotinic acid, 125 mg; pantothenate of Ca, 10 mg; folic acid, 0.25 mg; biotin, 0.02 mg (2) Mineral Suplementation: selenium, 0.1 mg; iron, 40 mg; copper, 12 mg; zinc, 120 mg; magnesium, 100 mg; iodine, 2.5 mg; cobalt, 0.75 mg

Peak cutting, illumination for this cathegory and vaccination scheme were performed according to the statements of Godínez et al. (2013). In order to determine the productive index of replacement pullets, each stage of rearing was taken into account.

To determine productive performance of the animals, food intake, daily mortality and liveweight were controlled. Indicators of food conversion and viability were calculated using these data. For the uniformity of the animals, the weight of 104 pullets/treatment was used and calculated through the determination of the variation coefficient (VC).

For evaluating reproductive performance, eight pullets per treatment were sacrified, out of the mean weight of each group. After sacrifice, ovaries and oviducts were extracted and each portion was analyzed. To determine the weight of the organs, a technical balance was used, which had a precision of ± 1 g, a ruler, a measuring tape and a vernier. Ovary weight (OW), oviduct length, follicle per pullet (< 2mm) and the age at the first egg were determined in this analysis.

For the analysis of productive indicators, an analysis of variance was applied according to a completely randomized design. Duncan (1995) test was applied (P<0.05) in the necessary cases. For viability and age at the first egg, theoretical assumptions of the analysis of variance were verified. In order to know normal distribution of errors, Shapiro and Wilk (1965) test was applied and, for homogeneity of variance, Levene (1960) test was used. Afterwards, arcsen √% and √x transformations were implemented, respectively. These assumptions were evaluated once more without improving their fulfillment, so non-parametric analysis of variance of Kruskal and Wallis (1952) simple classification were used. Conover (1999) test was applied for comparing mean ranges. For determining the variable follicles/pullet, an analysis for proportion comparisons or chi square (X2) of Font et al. (2007) was performed. For data analysis, the statistical package Infostat (Di Rienzo et al. 2012) was also used.

Results and Discussion

Despite feeding management of pullets was fitted to the requirements by stages, values of mean liveweight for the evaluated treatments (table 2) were below the required pattern for this species and category of poultry (1320 g), according to statements of Godínez et al. (2013). This could be directly related to high temperatures and humidity during the research. These were 24, 3-33, 2 °C and 74 to 85, respectively.

Table 2 Effect of additive inclusion of concentrated vinasse on productive indicators of replacement pullets, at 18 weeks old  

Indicators Inclusion levels, % SE± and Sign.
0 1 1.5 2
Liveweight, g 1289.38 1277.00 1267.50 1289.38 15.59 P=0.7114
Total intake, g 5276.38 5194.88 5279.63 5174.75 79.07 P=0.7028
Food conversion, kg/kg 5.05 5.01 5.14 4.94 0.07 P=0.2708

García et al. (2016) conducted studies that related liveweight with bio-productive indicators in White Leghorn L33 hens. Likewise, these authors recorded low weights in replacement pullets. In this regard, Bermúdez (2012) referred that, due to the high environmental temperature and relative humidity, stress is still one of the major environmental perturbations that reduce poultry performance.

Leeson (1996) researched on environmental heat conditions in Leghorn pullets and obtained low weights (1293 g) in these animals. This author related liveweight, temperature and energy level of diet and concluded that the animals reared at high temperatures are smaller at 20 weeks old. The effect is independent of nutrient contribution.

Liveweight homogeneity propitiated a higher uniformity with the inclusion of 1% of concentrated vinasse regarding the rest of treatments (94.99, 97.49, 95.41 and 94.15, respectively). However, the study showed an excellent uniformity for all cases (> 90 %), with a VC of 6.74 %.

These results coincide with those of Piad et al. (2006), who used a yeast cream hydrolyzed in replacement pullets and obtained a significant improvement in the uniformity of the animals, which had an effect on a better performance. This is mainly due to the relation between uniformity, age at the first egg and later production.

Itzá et al. (2011) commented that uniformity defines quality of rearing batches of laying hens. This indicator is considered more important than liveweight and influences, along with it, on obtaining high production of laying. A similar criterion was referred by Parkinson and Stanhope (2011), who stated the importance of supervising uniformity and growth in the rearing of replacement pullets because these indicators estimate the external quality of the egg and longevity of lying hens.

The excellent ranges of viability in the research were related to management conditions and compounds present in the used additive. Rutz et al. (2009) described similar results, after offering distillery cream yeasts for feeding replacement pullets. In this case, there were no significant changes in performance indicators but there was a great viability.

Bonato and Barbalho (2017) reported that the decrease of the amount of some pathogens and immune system modulation, due to supplementation with cell walls of yeasts, is important in all rearing stages. Compounds within it prepare these animals to improve yield in the initial stages of development (reproductive periods, stress and environmental challenges), so as to increase productivity and decrease mortality in the production.

Including vinasse in the diet of replacement pullets favored a higher development of ovaries and oviduct (table 3 and 4). It was observed that, with the increase of vinasse inclusion level, there was also an increase of ovary weight and the number of follicles >2 mm (figure 1). The same performance had the oviduct length in pullets, which depended on growth between oviduct length and inclusion level.

Table 3 Effect of additive inclusion of concentrated vinasse on viability and number of follicles of replacement pullets, at 18 weeks old  

Indicators Inclusion levels, % SE± and Sign.
0 1 1,5 2
Viability, %

  • 15.50ab

  • (95.00)

  • SD=1.82

  • 24.50b

  • (97.28)

  • SD =1.06

  • 15.75ab

  • (95.15)

  • SD =2.65

  • 10.25a

  • (93.73)

  • SD =1.20

Number of follicles per pullets 6c 69a 18b 7c 2.55 P=0.0001

a,b means with different letters differ at P<0.05 ( ) original means

SD: standard deviation

Table 4 Effect of additive inclusion of concentrated vinasse on oviduct and ovary development of replacement pullets, (week 18). 

Indicators Vinasse, % SE±Sign.
0 1 1.5 2
Ovary weight, g 1.88a 3.63b 4.63bc 5.88c 0.55 P=0.002
Oviduct lengtd, cm 8.38a 12.13b 16.25c 21.50d 0.66 P<0.0001
Liver weight, g 20.50 20.63 20.13 22.00 1.12 P=0.6639
Fat weight, g 7.63 6.00 4.25 8.50 1.52 P=0.2306
Age at the first egg, weeks 18a 17b 18a 18a 0.15 P=0.0007

a,b,c,d means with different letters differ at P<0.05

Figure 1 Effect of inclusion level of vinasse on follicular development of White Leghorn replacement pullets, at 18 weeks old. 

Regarding reproductive organs, Brown (1992) pointed out that genetic studies allowed current laying hens to reach reproductive age in a lower period. Nevertheless, this author warned that earlier sexual maturity makes more difficult for pullets for reaching the ideal body weight before starting the laying process, as occurred in this study.

In this research, the effects of ovary weight and oviduct length, using concentrated vinasse as additive, coincided with those described by Martínez et al. (2010). These authors performed a preliminary study to evaluate the additive effect of concentrated vinasse on health of replacement pullets. As a collateral result, they observed a higher development of reproductive organs.

One of the possible responses to these results was stated by Gimeno (2004), who mentioned that foods like onion, soybean and fermented products such as yogurt and wine, contained phenolic compounds with structures similar to estrogen. Therefore, they could be linked to estrogenic receptors and imitate the action of the natural hormone, meaning that they could act as phytoestrogens (isoflavines and lignans).

Results concerning abdominal fat and liver weight, showed no differences, which could be related to the organ and sample size. However, there was a change of coloring in the liver that could be a consequence of higher fat infiltration, which could provide a better performance to animals in the future production.

Miles (1999) suggested that fat accumulation is the main regulator for beginning sexual development because this occurs after the reproductive system has begun to develop, between 18 and 20 weeks old. This would allow an adequate egg production during rearing. Sánchez et al. (2012) pointed out that current laying hens reach an early sexual maturity and an egg production appropriate for their species.

In this research, egg laying began to be recorded from week 17 for the treatment with 1% of inclusion of concentrated vinasse, and from week 18 for the rest of treatments.

Results allowed to report that concentrated vinasse inclusion levels did not affect productive performance of these animals. On the contrary, favored a higher development of ovary and oviduct, as well as increased the number of follicles. This proper development of the reproductive organs of these animals will allow to obtain higher amount of eggs per hens, which results in better profitability of their productions.


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Received: December 17, 2018; Accepted: November 01, 2019

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