Response of three laying hen genotypes to two feed calcium levels M., Tumova E., Chodova D. (2019): Response of three laying hen genotypes to two feed calcium levels. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 64: 504-510.
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The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of two dietary Ca levels (3.00% vs 3.50%) in three hen genotypes (ISA Brown, Bovans Brown and Moravia BSL) on their laying performance and quality of their eggs. In order to evaluate the response to dietary Ca, an experiment was conducted with 300 laying hens. One hundred birds from each genotype were divided into 10 replicates (10 birds/cage/Ca level). To reveal the differences, the following characteristics were measured: hen-day egg production percentage, daily feed intake, egg weight, albumen and yolk weights, Haugh unit, eggshell colour, eggshell weight, eggshell thickness, eggshell strength, egg shape index and eggshell index. A higher Ca level significantly increased the hen-day egg production percentage of Bovans Brown and Moravia BSL, while ISA Brown laying hens had the higher egg production percentage at a lower dietary Ca level (85.97% vs 82.41%). No significant effect of dietary Ca level was observed on any internal egg quality measurements except the Haugh unit. However, the dietary Ca level significantly affected some of external egg quality measurements, namely eggshell colour (P < 0.001), eggshell weight (P = 0.003) and eggshell strength (P = 0.012). The results of the present study show that laying performance and egg quality parameters responded differently according to hen genotype and dietary Ca level. Bovans Brown and Moravia BSL laying hens required higher levels of Ca to keep egg production high, while the eggshell quality measurements were better at the lower dietary Ca level. Thus, it is recommended to adjust the Ca levels in feed to the nutritional requirements of laying hens.

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