The experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary vitamin combinations on the egg quality and vitamin concentrations in the eggs of commercial laying hens. A total of 1,800 25-week-old Lohman pink-shell hens were randomly assigned to four dietary vitamin treatments as follows: NRC(1994) level, NRC (1994) level with Hy.D® (25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol), Local level (current average industry level in China) and OVN® level (optimum vitamin nutrition level), with 10 replicates per treatment and 45 layers per replicate. Hens were housed in commercial laying cages with three birds per cage and given ad libitum access to feed. Results showed the hens that received the fortified vitamin levels in the OVN® treatment had a significantly (p<0.05) lower number of cracked (.47%) and dirty eggs (.27%), and increased egg deposition of vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, 25-OH-D3, vitamin E, vitamin B1, biotin and pantothenate (p<0.05). Treatments had no significant effect on egg-shape index, egg specific gravity, Haugh units and eggshell thickness. Hens fed the NRC-Hy.D® combination also experienced a significant decrease in cracked and dirty eggs (.70% and .44%, respectively) and an increased deposition of 25-OH-D3 in comparison with the NRC treatment. Results of the present study suggest that that the Local treatment was able to improve egg quality parameters of laying hens, but resulted in more cracked and dirty eggs. OVN® reduced the number of cracked eggs and dirty eggs, and improved the deposition of several vitamins in eggs. With the addition of Hy.D®, eggshell strength and 25-OH-D3 deposition in eggs were also improved, and cracked and dirty egg rates declined.
Egg quality; Hy.D®; laying hen; OVN®; vitamin deposition