Use of faba beans (Vicia faba L.) in diets of laying hens

  • Erja Koivunen MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal Production Research
  • Petra Tuunainen MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal Production Research, 31600 Jokioinen, Finland
  • Eija Valkonen Hankkija Oy, P.O. Box 390, 05801 Hyvinkää, Finland
  • Laila Rossow Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
  • Jarmo Valaja Department of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 28, University of Helsinki, 00014, Finland
Keywords: egg production, faba bean, feed processing, health, laying hen


The study was conducted to evaluate an appropriate inclusion level of locally produced unprocessed or expander-processed coloured flowered faba bean (FB) (cv. ‘Kontu’) seeds in diets for laying hens. Egg production and egg quality variables were determined with 560 hens (Lohmann Selected Leghorn, LSL Classic) in a 40-week continued experiment. The hens were fed one of the five diets containing soybean meal as the main protein source. A diet without FB was served as a control diet. Both unprocessed and expander-processed FB was tested either in proportions of 50 g kg-1 or 100 g kg-1 in the diet. Faba bean inclusion (control vs. FB diets) had no effect on the egg production rate, egg mass production, feed consumption, or feed conversion ratio, but it decreased egg weight (p<0.05). Dietary FB inclusion tended to increase the mortality of the hens (p<0.10). Faba bean processing had no effects on egg production parameters or hen mortality. Daily egg mass production decreased and feed conversion ratio increased when FB proportion increased (from 50 to 100 g kg-1, p<0.05). Faba bean inclusion had no effects on egg exterior quality. It can be concluded that 50 g kg-1 of the FB studied (cv. ‘Kontu’) can be used in the diets of laying hens (LSL Classic) without negative effects on production performance or livability.


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Oct 8, 2014
How to Cite
Koivunen, E., Tuunainen, P., Valkonen, E., Rossow, L., & Valaja, J. (2014). Use of faba beans (Vicia faba L.) in diets of laying hens. Agricultural and Food Science, 23(3), 165-172.