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J Sci Food Agric. 2007 Nov;87(14):2555-9. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2939.

The influence of different single dietary sources on moult induction in laying hens.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Poultry Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, PO Box 14155-6453, Tehran, IR Iran.


An investigation was carried out to assess the possibility of using single dietary sources as alternatives to feed deprivation for the induction of moult in commercial laying hens. The study involved six dietary groups of 29 laying hens: unmoulted, dried tomato pomace, alfalfa meal, rice bran, cumin seed meal and feed withdrawal. The birds received the above diets during the moulting period (11 days), and body weight loss and ovary weight regression were measured. Post-moult production parameters (number of eggs produced per hen per day, egg weight, shell weight, yolk colour and Haugh unit) were measured for 12 weeks. Results showed that all dietary sources were as effective as feed withdrawal in causing ovary weight regression in birds. Birds provided with tomato pomace or alfalfa showed lower weight losses than feed-deprived birds at the end of the moulting period. Hens moulted by tomato pomace or alfalfa exhibited post-moult levels of egg production over a 12 week period that were superior to those of hens moulted by feed withdrawal. Post-moult eggs laid by hens moulted by all dietary sources were of comparable quality to eggs from feed-deprived hens and superior to those from unmoulted hens. As fibrous feeds with low metabolisable energy and an appreciable amount of protein, dried tomato pomace and alfalfa meal may be fed to hens on an ad libitum basis for effective moult induction while reducing the stress of severe starvation and retaining comparable egg quality and production. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.


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