Online Journal of Animal and Feed Research An International Peer-reviewed journal which publishes in electronic format (online) Full text of Papers EFFECT OF DIETARY CALCIUM LEVEL ON EGG PRODUCTION AND EGG SHELL QUALITY IN BROILER BREEDER HENS FROM 36 TO 60 WEEKS OF AGE

J Moreki, H Van Der Merwe, J Hayes
2011 Online Journal of Animal and Feed Research   unpublished
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of different calcium (Ca) levels in diet on shell quality and egg production of Ross broiler breeder hens from 36 to 60 weeks of age. A total of 198 pullets were reared on restricted diets with 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0% Ca, up to 22 weeks. The pullets in each experimental diet were further randomly divided into three treatments with 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5% dietary Ca (66 birds per treatment) and fed from 23 to 60 weeks. The hens were caged individually. The
more » ... ndividually. The cages were fitted with feed troughs and water nipples. Birds were fed breeder diet (23 to 34 weeks), breeder diet phase 2 (35 to 46 weeks) and breeder diet phase 3 (47 to 60 weeks) feed intake was administered according to Ross Breeders recommendations. The rations were isocaloric and isonitrogenous with different levels of Ca and P and were administered according to Ross Breeders Recommendations. Dietary treatment significantly (P<0.0001) affected Ca intake of broiler breeder hens. An average Ca intake (g/hen/day) of 2.14, 3.76 and 5.39 for the 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5% Ca levels, respectively occurred during the experimental period. Egg production, egg weight, egg mass, egg contents and shell weight/unit surface area (SWUSA), shell weight, shell percentage and shell thickness increased (P<0.0001) when dietary Ca was raised from 1.5% to 2.5%. However, no significant (P>0.05) differences were found in these variables between 2.5 and 3.5% Ca levels. All the eggshell quality variables increased over time while egg mass and egg production declined. From the results of the present study, it is concluded that increasing Ca level from 1.5 to 2.5% could improve eggshell quality. Present results suggest that the 2.5% Ca (3.8 g Ca/hen/day) seems to be adequate to support egg production and improving eggshell quality of broiler breeders.