At-hatch administration of probiotic to chickens can introduce beneficial changes in gut microbiota

Stephen Baldwin, Robert J. Hughes, Thi Thu Hao Van, Robert J. Moore, Dragana Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in culture-free microbiological techniques bring new understanding of the role of intestinal microbiota in heath and performance. Intestinal microbial communities in chickens assume a near-stable state within the week which leaves a very small window for permanent microbiota remodelling. It is the first colonisers that determine the fate of microbial community in humans and birds alike, and after the microbiota has matured there are very small odds for permanent modification as stable community resists change. In this study we inoculated broiler chicks immediately post hatch, with 3 species of Lactobacillus, identified by sequencing of 16S rRNA and pheS genes as L. ingluviei, L. agilis and L. reuteri. The strains were isolated from the gut of healthy chickens as reproducibly persistent Lactobacillus strains among multiple flocks. Birds inoculated with the probiotic mix reached significantly higher weight by 28 days of age. Although each strain was able to colonise when administered alone, administering the probiotic mix at-hatch resulted in colonisation by only L. ingluviei. High initial abundance of L. ingluviei was slowly reducing, however, the effects of at-hatch administration of the Lactobacillus mix on modifying microbiota development and structure remained persistent. There was a tendency of promotion of beneficial and reduction in pathogenic taxa in the probiotic administered group.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0194825
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • probiotics
  • microbiome
  • birds
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • chickens
  • lactobacillus
  • sequence databases
  • clostridium

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