Okocha I. Onuoha, Herbert Udo
Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State, Nigeria.
Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria.
Corresponding Email: [email protected]
A B S T R A C T
Egg quality is of economic consideration especially in thermally challenged confinements during table egg production and transportation. The effect of vitamin-C and folate on heat-stressed chickens’ egg quality and performance is aimed at overcoming the negative impact of exposure to increased environmental heat load at peak heat periods of the year using vitamin-C as ameliorative agent, and efficient utilization of consumed feed, using folate. This is in other to lay quality eggs and perform optimally. A total of 72 Isa Brown laying hens at 31 weeks of age were randomly divided into 4 treatment groups of 36 birds subdivided into 3 replicates and indicated as T1, T2, T3 and T4 while T1 served as the control treatment. The birds were housed in a deep litter pen and exposed to 3-hours additional heat generated with gas-powered burners, for four consecutive days of each week for a period of 12 weeks. The diets for T2, T3 and T4 were supplemented with 250 mg of vitamin-C, 250 mg of vitamin-C + 1 mg of folate and 300 mg of vitamin-C + 1 mg of folate per kg of feed respectively. The results showed that T4 had the highest egg weights (60.04 g), shell thickness (0.53 mm) and shell weights (7.80 g). The albumin weight (37.20 g), albumin height (6.80 mm) and yolk weight (14.70 g) were highest (P<0.05) in T4 while daily eggs production/treatment/day was highest in T4 (8.04). The daily feed intake was (P<0.05) highest in T3 and T4 (0.42 kg/bird) and (P<0.05) lowest in T3 and T4 (1.51). It is concluded that combined supplementation of layers’ diet with vitamin-C and folate at the ratio of 350 mg: 1 mg/kg of feed) help to reduce negative impact of heat stress and enhance efficient utilization of feed consumed. It is recommended as a nutritional management strategy in minimizing the negative impact of increased heat load coupled with very high relative humidity.