No copper supplementation in a corn-soybean basal diet has no adverse effects on late-phase laying hens under normal and cyclic high temperatures

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Over supplementation of copper (Cu) in animal diets may cause serious pollution in soil, water and harvested crops. To minimize the potential pollution, the effects of corn-soybean basal diet with or without supplementation of 8 mg Cu/kg on laying performance, plasma biochemical metabolic indices, and antioxidant status in laying hens were evaluated under normal and cyclic high temperatures. A total of 240 Hy-Line Brown laying hens were randomly allotted to 4 treatments with 6 replicates of 10 hens per replicate according to factorial design involved in 2 temperatures [normal temperature (NT) vs. cyclic high temperature (CHT)] and 2 dietary Cu addition amount [Cu0 (0 mg/kg) vs. Cu8 (8 mg/kg in the form of CuSO4·5H2O)]. The experimental period included 1-week adaptation, 2-week heat stress and 2-week convalescence. The temperatures of NT groups in the same period or any groups during other periods were kept at 26 ± 2°C except that of CHT groups were 26 ± 2°C˜33 ± 2°C cyclically during heat stress period. CHT groups increased (P < 0.05) the rectal temperature and plasma glucose content under heat stress, but decreased (P < 0.01) the egg yield at the second week of heat stress and the first week of convalescence, and the plasma triglyceride, uric acid, and triiodothyronine levels under heat stress. Cu8 groups increased (P < 0.05) egg weight at the first week of convalescence, and plasma thyroxin level during the whole convalescence. Interactions between temperature and Cu content existed (P < 0.05) in the laying rate at the first week of convalescence, and the plasma lactic dehydrogenase level under heat stress. Conclusively, the CHT impaired laying performance. The Cu content (10.3 mg/kg) in corn-soybean basal diet might be sufficient for meeting the maintenance and production requirements of late-phase laying hens, and no Cu supplementation had no adverse effects on egg production and antioxidant indices under cyclic high (26 ± 2°C˜33 ± 2°C) or normal (26 ± 2°C) temperatures.

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