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Two-hundred Single Comb White Leg-Horn spent hens at the age of 70 weeks were purchased from a commercial layer farm. The birds were shifted to the Poultry Research Station, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. High dietary zinc (3g/kg feed/day) was used to induce molting in all the birds after one week of acclimatization. Thereafter, birds were divided in groups of 50 birds each, with the following treatments: G1 [control; crude protein (CP)16%, no other supplement], G2 (CP18%, no other supplement), G3 (CP16%, Symbiotic, 85 mg/L drinking water) and G4 (CP16%, Probiotic, 85mg/L in drinking water). Fifteen birds were slaughtered at 5% of peak of production each to collect their pituitary glands. The better egg production was seen in all the supplemented groups as compared to the control. Especially an earlier post molt production recovery and delayed decline was seen in the G2 as compared to all other groups. The immunohistochemistry of the pituitary gland reveals the decrease (Pâ‰¤0.01) in the cell and nucleus size as well as area of somatotrophs in G2 and G4 as compared to G1. The cell and nucleus size as well as area of lactotrophs decreased (Pâ‰¤0.01) in G2, G3 and G4 as compared to G1. The better and earlier post molt production in G2 highlights the potential role of protein supplementation in connection with the decreased lactotroph size and area in molted birds.
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