Influence of grinding size of the main cereal of the diet on egg production and eggs quality of brown egg laying hens from 33 to 65 weeks of age1


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Abstract

The influence of grinding size of the main cereal of the diet on production and egg quality traits was studied in brown hens from 33 to 65 wk of age. The experiment was completely randomized with 6 treatments arranged as a 3 × 2 factorial with 3 main cereals (barley, corn, and wheat) and 2 grinding size of the cereal (6 and 10 mm screen). Each treatment was replicated 11 times (10 hens/replicate). Diets were isonutritive and contained 2,740 kcal/kg AMEn and 16.8% CP. Egg production, ADFI, egg weight, and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were determined by period (4 wk) and for the entire experiment. Egg quality traits (percentage of undergrades, Haugh units, thickness, strength, color of the shell, and proportion of albumen, yolk, and shell) were measured also by period. No interactions between main cereal and grinding size of the main cereal of the diet were observed for any of the traits studied. Feed intake, egg production, and BW gain were not affected by diet or grinding size. Eggs were heavier (P < 0.01) in hens fed barley than in hens fed corn or wheat, probably because of the higher fat content of the barley diets. Also, FCR tended to improve in hens fed barley compared with hens fed corn or wheat (P = 0.07). Diet did not affect any of the egg quality traits studied. In summary, barley and wheat conveniently supplemented with enzymes, can be used in substitution of corn at levels of up to 55% in diets for laying hens, without any adverse effect on egg production or egg quality traits. Moreover, the substitution of corn by a combination of barley and supplemental fat increased egg size. Consequently, the inclusion of one or other cereal in the diet will depend primarily on their relative cost. Within the range studied, screen size (6 vs. 10 mm) of the cereal had limited effects on hen production.

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