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Chapter 13,564

The feeding of acorns to laying pullets and ducks

Temperton, H.

Empire Jour Exp Agric 11(43/44): 175-181

1943


Accession: 013563577

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Although the scale of the expt. provided only observational groups, it would appear that it is safe to include ripe ungerminated acorns as part of the rations for laying hens and ducks. When such material constituted up to 20% of the daily food-intake of hens and ducks, no adverse effects on health and production resulted. Raising the quantity of ripe ungerminated acorns for hens to 40 and 60% of the daily ration produced a costive condition of the droppings, and at the higher level an immediate and substantial fall in egg-production, which may be due in part to the precipitation of food protein by tannic acid in the digestive tract, to be later voided in an insoluble form in the feces. Increasing the quantity of ripe ungerminated acorns to 33.3 and 50% of the food given to the ducks did not appear to affect either egg-yield or the physical condition of the droppings, but the numbers of birds involved do not permit of general recommendations. The experiences of the present test afford an explanation of the apparently contradicatory results of acorn feeding. Complaints of discolored yolks attributed to birds picking up acorns from the range are almost exclusively confined to the early spring and late autumn, when presumably suitable temp. encourages the germination of the acorns, a process which results in the conversion of appreciable amts. of gallotannin to gallic acid. This does not preclude the pos-sibility of unripe acorns, blown from the trees by gales, being dangerous, since no opportunity of determining the gallic-acid constitution of such material was possible. Yolk-discoloration is usually restricted to a small % of a flock having access to acorns, and this was confirmed in the expt. now reported, since with the same quantitative intake of germinated and boiled acorns, the adverse condition was confined to individual ducks and hens.

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