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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2005;18(4): 545-551.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2005.545    Published online April 20, 2005.
Effects of Dietary Vitamins C and E on Egg Shell Quality of Broiler Breeder Hens Exposed to Heat Stress
M. K. Chung, J. H. Choi, Y. K. Chung, K. M. Chee
A feeding trial was conducted to determine whether dietary vitamin C (200 mg/kg) and vitamin E (250 mg/kg) prevent any drops in egg shell quality under heat stress in broiler breeder hens. One hundred and sixty molted Ross broiler breeders were housed randomly in an individual cage at 83 weeks of age. Four dietary treatments with forty hens and four replications per treatment were control (no additional vitamins), vitamin C-, or vitamin E-supplemented and combined supplementation of the two vitamins. After a ten-day-adaptation period at 25째C, the ambient temperature was kept at 32째C for a three-week-testing period. Egg production dropped dramatically over week but it did not show a significant change among treatments (p<0.05). However, egg quality parameters such as egg weight, specific gravity, shell thickness, SWUSA, puncture force and shell breaking strength from the birds fed the diet with the combined vitamins C and E were significantly improved over those of the control group during the heat stress period (p<0.05). The hens fed the vitamin C diet improved tibia breaking strength (37.16 kg), statistically higher than the birds fed the control and the vitamin E diets (p<0.05). The hens fed the control diet showed higher serum corticosterone levels, a mean of 5.97 ng/ml, than those of the other treatments (p<0.05). The heat stress resulted in elevated heterophils and decreased lymphocytes in serum, increasing the H/L ratios for all the treatments. However, the increases in H/L ratios were alleviated by feeding the diets containing vitamin C alone or together with vitamin E, although there were no significant differences in the ratio between the two groups (p<0.05). In conclusion, vitamins C (200 mg/kg) and/or E (250 mg/kg) supplemented to the diets for broiler breeder hens could prevent drops in egg shell quality and tibia bone strength under highly stressful environmental temperatures.
Keywords: Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Egg Shell Quality; Heat Stress; H/L Ratios; Broiler Breeder Hen

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