Laying performance and eggshell quality in laying hens fed diets supplemented with prebiotics and organic acids

https://doi.org/10.17221/207/2009-CJASCitation:Świątkiewicz S., Koreleski J., Arczewska A. (2010): Laying performance and eggshell quality in laying hens fed diets supplemented with prebiotics and organic acids. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 55: 294-306.
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The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of organic acids and the prebiotic fructans on egg production and eggshell quality when added to the layer diet with different levels of calcium and phosphorus. The experiment was carried out on 168 Bovans Brown hens, allocated to 14 groups of 12 replications. Each hen (replication) was kept in an individual cage 40 cm × 40 cm in size. A 2 × 7 factorial arrangement, with two dietary levels of calcium and phosphorus (normal – 3.70% Ca, 0.65% P, and reduced – 3.25% Ca, 0.60% P) and with diets supplemented by selected additives (none, 0.75% inulin, 0.75% oligofructose, 0.50% volatile fatty acids (VFA), 0.25% medium chain fatty acid (MCFA), 0.30% VFA + 0.20% MCFA, 0.75% inulin + 0.50% VFA) was used. The experiment was carried out over 34 weeks, from the age of 26 to 70 weeks. There were no statistically confirmed effects of the factors studied in this experiment on egg performance, i.e. laying rate, egg mass, feed intake and feed conversion. Reducing the dietary levels of Ca and P significantly decreased eggshell percent, thickness, density and breaking strength. The additives used had a considerable effect on eggshell quality at 46, 58 and 70 weeks of age, and these positive effects were most pronounced in the case of inulin and MCFA. There was no significant interaction between Ca and P dietary levels and the additives used. It was thus concluded that selected feed additives which lower the pH of the diet and intestinal content can beneficially influence eggshell quality in older high-producing laying hens.  
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