Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola
Print version ISSN 1516-635X
PIZZOLANTE, CC et al. Effects of calcium levels and limestone particle size on the egg quality of semi-heavy layers in their second production cycle. Rev. Bras. Cienc. Avic. [online]. 2009, vol.11, n.2, pp. 79-86. ISSN 1516-635X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-635X2009000200002.
A 112-day trial was carried out to evaluate the effect of dietary calcium level and limestone particle size on the egg quality of 288 Hy-Line Brown semi-heavy layers, with 83 weeks of age at the beginning of the experiment. A completely randomized experimental design was applied in a 2x3 factorial arrangement, with two dietary calcium levels (3.5 and 4.0%) e three limestone particle size compositions (100% fine limestone (FL), with 0.185mm; 30% coarse limestone (CL), with 2.83mm, + 70% FL, with 0.185mm; and 50% CL, with 2.83mm, + 50% FL, with 0.185mm), with six replicates of eight birds each. Mean geometric diameter and in-vitro solubility of the limestone sources were, respectively, 0.185mm and 18.7% for the fine limestone, and 2.83mm and 10.5% for the coarse limestone. At the end of each 28-day period, 72 eggs per treatment were used to determine egg specific gravity, yolk percentage, albumen percentage, eggshell percentage, yolk index, Haugh units, eggshell thickness, and eggshell breaking strength. There was no influence of the treatments on the evaluated parameters. It was concluded that feeding the level of 3.5% calcium usually recommended for layers in their first laying cycle, and the substitution of up to 50% fine limestone by coarse limestone in the feed of semi-heavy commercial Hy-Line Brown layers in their second laying cycle can be applied with no impairment of egg quality.
Keywords : Eggs; eggshell quality; layers; levels; minerals.