Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
FERNANDES, Jovanir Inês Müller et al. Effect of vitamin K on bone integrity and eggshell quality of white hen at the final phase of the laying cycle. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2009, vol.38, n.3, pp. 488-492. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982009000300013.
The effect of four levels of dietary vitamin K (vit. K) on production, egg quality and bone structure of laying hens near the end of the production cycle were studied. A total of 192 Hy-Line, W-36 hens, 67 weeks of age, were distributed into a completely randomized design with four treatments (0, 2, 8, 32 mg vit. K/kg of diet), six replicates and eight birds per experimental unit. Corn-soybean-meal basal diets were isonitrogenous (15.5% crude protein), isoenergetic (2,790 kcal ME/kg), isocalcium (4.25% Ca) and isophosphorus (0.40% available P). Vitamin K supplementation did not alter egg mass, feed intake, feed conversion (kg/kg), bone breaking strength, specific egg gravity, eggshell weight, thickness and percentage of thin and cracked shell. A linear effect on egg weight, laying percent, and feed conversion (kg/dozen) was observed, as well as a quadratic effect on the ash bone content. In conclusion, the inclusion of increasing levels of vitamin K to the diet influenced performance and bone mineralization, but not eggshell quality. The lack of consistency in the efficiency of supplemental vitamin K on eggshell quality may be due to the age of hens.
Keywords : eggshell quality; layer; osteoporosis.