Effects of δ-aminolevulinic acid and vitamin C supplementation on iron status, production performance, blood characteristics and egg quality of laying hens.J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2011 Aug; 95(4):417-23.JA
An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of laying hen diets supplemented with δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and vitamin C (VC) on productive performance, iron status and egg quality. A total of 252 Hy-line brown commercial laying hens were fed two levels of VC (0 and 500 mg/kg) and three levels of ALA (0, 5 and 10 mg/kg) in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement from 57 to 63 weeks of age. Each treatment contained seven replicates with six hens in each replicate. Supplementation of the diet with both ALA and VC resulted in a significant increase in egg production during 4-6 weeks (p < 0.05). The haematocrit (HCT), total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), white blood cell (WBC), total protein and albumin concentrations were not affected by the dietary treatments. However, ALA and interactive effect of ALA and VC were observed to increase the RBC, haemoglobin and serum iron concentrations (p < 0.05). In addition, inclusion of both ALA and VC increased blood lymphocyte percentage in relation to hens not supplemented with ALA (p < 0.05). Moreover, single effect of ALA or VC improved (p < 0.05) the yolk colour unit and albumin height from 3 to 6 weeks. The egg shell colour was increased (p < 0.05) by the effect of ALA. The addition of VC also led to an increase (p < 0.05) of the Haugh unit at the end of the experiment. However, neither ALA, nor VC exerted an effect on egg weight, egg shell breaking strength or egg shell thickness. The results demonstrate that dietary ALA and VC supplementation can improve the iron status and egg quality of laying hens.