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Effects of dietary calcium levels during the brooding rearing and early laying period on feed intake egg production and shell quality of white leghorn hens



Effects of dietary calcium levels during the brooding rearing and early laying period on feed intake egg production and shell quality of white leghorn hens



Poultry Science 60(2): 349-357



The effects of decreasing the Ca level of the diet during the growing and early laying period were investigated with Single Comb White Leghorn pullets. In the 1st experiment lowering the dietary Ca level from 3.2 to 2.0 or 1.0% between 154 and 182 days of age or to 2.0% between 183 and 211 days influenced egg specific gravity (P < 0.001) and shell weight at 177 and 205 days but had no effect (P > 0.05) on subsequent measurements. Dietary Ca level had no effect on feed intake and efficiency, egg production and yield, egg weights and Haugh units during the laying period from 154-439 days. In a 2nd experiment containing chicks from each of four 2-way crosses, 3 commercial and 1 control strain, the dietary Ca level was lowered during the rearing (1-143 days) and laying (144-354 days) period. Mortality was higher and body weight lower (P < 0.001) for chicks reared on diets containing 0.51% Ca than those given the control diets containing 0.78% Ca. In the laying period, egg production, feed intake and efficiency, and egg specific gravity were lower and mortality, Haugh units and blood spots were higher for pullets given a diet containing 2.2% Ca between 144 and 242 days or 144 and 340 days than for those receiving a 3.2% Ca laying diet. The hens given the 2.2% Ca laying diet previously received the 0.51% Ca diets during the rearing period. There were differences (P < 0.05) among strains for the aforementioned variables, except feed intake and efficiency, but there were few strain .times. dietary Ca interactions. Apparently, egg shell quality temporarily improved when the dietary Ca was decreased and subsequently increased during the laying period.

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Accession: 005299464

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DOI: 10.3382/ps.0600349


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