Livestock Research for Rural Development 14 (6) 2002

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Effect of water sources and ascorbic acid supplementation on egg quality and production parameters of laying hens

Kolapo M Ajuwon, Opes Matanmi and Olajumoke C Daniyan

Department of Animal Science,
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
omatanm@oauife.edu.ng

 

Abstract

One hundred and eighty-two pullets at 23 weeks of age were randomly divided into six treatments. Each treatment had 30 birds in 3 replications of 10 birds each. They were assigned to 3 vitamin (ascorbic acid) levels (0, 125 and 250 ppm) given in either rain water or pipe-borne water according to a 3*2 factorial design. Data were collected for 12 weeks on ambient temperature and humidity, feed intake, egg production, water intake, body weight and egg quality.  Feed (kg) per kg of eggs and feed (kg) per dozen eggs  were other parameters considered.

Under the conditions of this study, there were no effects of source of water, or level of ascorbic acid supplementation, on egg production traits and egg quality.

Key words: Ascorbic acid, egg production, water sources

 

Introduction

Poultry production involves the use of enormous quantities of water. In spite of the acknowledged importance of water to poultry production, many poultry producers do not keep records of water consumption by their flocks. When compared to other nutrients, relatively fewer studies have been carried out on water.  Factors that have been studied include salt level and total dissolved solids (Krista et al 1961). However, only a few of the studies have significant practical value as the quality of water used in most of the experiments had been conditioned to suit the purpose of the experiments and this can hardly be encountered under practical conditions.

In southwest Nigeria where there is a high concentration of intensive poultry production units. In the region, it rains for most of the year, with most of the rain water wasted as run-off. However, the rain water could be harvested and used as a readily available source of water for poultry under both intensive and extensive systems of management. Rain water is obtained almost at no cost as compared with treated pipe-borne water, and if used could reduce the cost of producing poultry meat and eggs. However, no work has been carried out yet on the effect of rain water as compared to pipe-borne water on layer performance.

Supplementation with ascorbic acid is considered to be useful as a stress-relieving factor in poultry. Balnave and Zhang (1992) observed that the adverse effects of drinking water containing salt at 2g/litre were prevented by ascorbic acid supplementation at the rate of 800 ppm. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the effects of rain water compared with pipe-borne water on performance of layers.

 

Materials and Methods

Birds, treatments and design

One hundred and eighty NAPRI (National Poultry Research Institute) layer-strain pullets at 23 weeks of age were used for the study. At the point of lay, the birds were randomly allocated into 6 treatments according to a 2*3 factorial arrangement, with two sources of water and three levels of ascorbic acid supplementation. There were thirty pullets per treatment; birds in each treatment were further divided into 3 replications of 10 birds per replication. The two sources of water were rain water and pipe-borne water, while the vitamin levels were 0, 125 and 250 ppm of ascorbic acid added to the drinking water.

The following statistical model was used in this study:

Yijk = + Wi + Aj + (W*A)ij + Eijk

where: Yijk = observed value of a dependent variable; = overall mean; Wi = effect of the i-th water source (i= water rain water,  pipe-borne water); Aj = effect of the j-th level of ascorbic acid supplementation (j=0, 125, 250 ppm); (W*A)ij = interactions between i-th water source and the j-th level of ascorbic acid supplementation; Eijk = random error associated with each observation Yijk.

Housing, feeding and management

The experiment was conducted at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching and Research Farm, which is at latitude 7o26` N, longitude 4o 39`E and altitude 244m above sea level. The birds were housed in a 12*7.5m laying house with a dwarf wooden wall along the length. The birds were transferred into a 0.4*0.4*0.37m 3-tier California cage at the start of the experiment. Two birds were placed together in a cage giving a spacing of 0.07m2/bird. The birds were wing-tagged individually and fed ad libitum with a commercial layer ration (Table 1).

 

Table 1: Mean proximate composition of commercial layer ration used.

Dry matter, %

91.9

Calculated ME, kcal/kg

2395

Analysis as % of dry matter

 

Crude protein

19.0

Ether extract

6.75

Crude fibre

3.97

Ash

13.8

Nitrogen free extract

56.5

Organic matter

86.2

 

Rain water was harvested from roof run-offs from the student hostel block of the University. The pipe-borne water was collected from the university mains. The pipe-borne water had been subjected to sequential treatments of aeration, coagulation and sedimentation, filtration and chlorination, in that order. Water was supplied ad libitum.

Data collection

All birds were individually weighed at the beginning of the experiment and every four weeks thereafter. Weighing was done using a “Waymaster” top-loading scale (model 1005). Body weight changes were calculated by difference. Daily water intake was also measured. A drinker filled with an equal quantity of water to that offered to the birds was used as the control and reductions in the water level were regarded as evaporative losses. Daily egg production was recorded for each treatment. Egg mass per day for the group was obtained from the product of numbers of eggs laid and average egg weight per day for the group. Eggs were weighed on a Sartorious Excellence electric balance (model E 2000s) to the nearest 0.01g. Egg quality analysis was carried out every four weeks. Twelve eggs per treatment (4 egg per replication) were randomly selected from the eggs laid in the last three days of every 28-day period and these were used for analyses.

Egg Quality Analysis

Individual weight of intact eggs were read to the nearest 0.01g on a Sartorious excellence electric balance. Egg shape index was determined by measuring maximum length and width of each egg using Vernier callipers to the nearest 0.1 cm. The ratio of maximum length and width represented the egg shape index. Shell thickness was measured at two points - the mid region and the proximal ends with a NSK micrometer screw gauge with a ball anvil to the nearest 0.01mm.

A Rabone chesterman chrome face rule was used to measure albumen and yolk heights to the nearest 0.5mm. Height of the thick albumen was taken away from the chalaza at a point about mid-way between the inner and outer edges of the thick albumen. Longitudinal and diagonal width of albumen and yolk widths were taken with a pair of dividers. The divider measurements were read on the Rabone chesterman rule. The albumen and yolk indices were then calculated as follows:

Albumen index = Albumen height/Albumen width

Yolk index = Yolk height/ Yolk width

Haugh units were calculated using the Haugh (1937) formula. Shell weight per surface area of each egg was calculated according to the method of Carter (1975). Yolk colour was determined on the Roche colour fan which is a series of graded coloured cards corresponding to the range of colours observable in egg yolk.

Chemical analysis

Chemical analysis for the proximate fraction of the feed was carried out as described by AOAC (1984). Crude protein was determined using the Kjeltec system digester (Tecator model 1007). Metabolizable energy was calculated according to the formula described by Carpenter and Clegg (1956). The two water sources were analysed for calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, while the determination of nitrate, chloride, sulphate and carbonate was by standard AOAC (1984) procedures. Water pH was determined on a Kent EIL 7020 pH meter. 

Data analysis

Analysis of variance was carried out on all the measured parameters.  All statistical procedures were done using the SAS (1988) software.

 

Results

Pipe-borne water had higher levels of dissolved calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc, than rain water (Table 2). Both water sources were devoid of manganese and copper. Pipe-borne water had a neutral pH while the rain water was slightly acidic (pH 6.6). Rain water had a higher level of dissolved nitrate but lower contents of sulphate, chloride and carbonate.

Table 2: Chemical analysis of pipe-borne water and rain water

 

Pipe-borne

Rain

Cations, ppm

 

 

Calcium

10.6

1.93

Magnesium

4.16

0.28

Potassium

8.01

0.47

Sodium

10.1

1.25

Manganese

0.00

0.00

Iron

0.54

0.01

Copper

0.00

0.00

Zinc

0.01

0.00

pH

7.00

6.60

Anions (meq/litre)

 

 

Nitrate

0.021

0.042

Chloride

0.5

0.4

Sulphate

0.3

0.1

Carbonate

2.0

1.0

       

Neither egg production traits nor egg quality were affected  by the source of water or supplementation with ascorbic acid (Tables 3 and 4).

Table 3: Least square means and SEM for effects of water source and ascorbic acid supplementation on egg production

 

Water Source

Ascorbic acid, ppm

 

PBW

RNW

0

125

250

Egg weight, g

49.92.2

49.53.1

49.32.2

50.02.1

49.82.1

Hen egg-day, %

65.623.0

64.924.6

64.923.2

61.824.7

69.223.1

Egg mass, g/day#

964370

957373

942369b

931 371b

1009371a

Feed, g/bird/day

1173.71

1173.6

1173.9

1174.0

1173.8

Feed/dozen eggs, kg

2.791.51

2.861.61

2.801.50

3.231.94

2.471.04

Feed/kg egg, kg

4.381.95

4.98+2.92

4.942.94

4.832.68

4.282.00

Water, ml/bird/day

36635.7

86329.2

36331.2

36835.6

36231.1

Body weight gain, g

371168

411143

453156

361162

361150

# per treatment group of 30 hens


Table
4.
Effect of water source and ascorbic acid supplementation on egg quality

Water Source

Ascorbic acid

Rain water

Pipe-borne water

0ppm

125 ppm

250 ppm

Egg weight, g

50.74.9

50.85.0

49.85.6

51.04.6

51.43.9

Maximal length, cm

5.40.3

5.40.2

5.40.3

5.40.2

5.40.2

Maximal equitorial diameter, cm

4.20.2

4.10.2

4.10.2

4.20.2

4.10.2

Egg shape index

0.770.08

0.770.04

0.760.10

0.770.05

0.770.03

Surface area (SA), cm2

63.74.0

63.54.6

63.04.7

63.94.1

64.13.3

Shell weight, g

6.10.8

6.10.7

6.10.9

6.20.8

6.10.6

Shell thickness, mm

0.330.05

0.380.05

0.380.05

0.380.04

0.380.05

Shell weight/SA, g/cm2

0.100.01

0.100.01

0.100.01

0.100.01

0.100.01

Albumen weight, g

31.73.4

31.33.3

31.63.7

31.33.2

31.83.0

% Albumen

61.65.3

61.74.7

61.56.7

61.24.1

62.12.4

Albumen index

0.080.02

0.090.03

0.080.02

0.090.02

0.080.02

Haugh unit

42.515.8

46.718.5

43.217.1

46.417.3

44.216.8

Yolk weight, g

13.41.5

13.31.9

13.31.6

13.51.9

13.31.3

% Yolk

26.22.0

26.62.8

26.42.3

26.62.6

26.02.1

Yolk index

0.460.09

0.470.03

0.470.03

0.470.05

0.450.10

Yolk colour

1.30.5

1.30.01

1.40.5

1.40.6

1.20.4

Albumen/Yolk ratio

2.40.3

2.40.3

2.40.3

2.40.3

2.40.3

 

Discussion

The observed higher level of cations, anions and pH in pipe water than in rain water could have been due to dissolution of the elements of the conveying pipes, or to mineral salts derived from the soils of the dam, which was the source of the pipe water. The pH level of the two water sources was well below the level of pH 9.0, considered by  Wages (1993)  to be the upper limit above which water consumption and performance were depressed. A common feature of the two water sources was their generally low level of most of the minerals and anions, which fall below recommended upper limits (NRC 1974; Task Force on Water Quality Guidelines 1987), hence the lack of difference between water sources on egg production traits.

The lack of effect of ascorbic acid supplementation contrasts with the findings of Perek and Kendler (1962) who reported that supplementation with this vitamin led to production of heavier eggs. Presumably there were adequate amounts of this vitamin in the basal diet.

 

Conclusions

Under the conditions of this study, there were no effects of source of water, or level of ascorbic acid supplementation, on egg production traits and quality. 

 

Acknowledgement

The authors wish to acknowledge the support of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in funding this research.

 

References

AOAC 1984 Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Official methods of analysis, 14th Edition, Arlington.

Balnave D and Zhang D 1992 Responses in egg shell quality from dietary ascorbic acid supplementation of hens receiving saline water. Australian journal of Agricultural Research 43:1259-1264.

Carpenter K J and Clegg K M 1956 The metabolizable energy of poultry feeding stuffs in relation to their chemical composition. Journal of Science and Agriculture 7:45-51.

Carter T C 1975 The hen's egg: Estimation of shell superficial area and egg volume using measurements of fresh egg weight and shell length and breadth alone or  in combination. British Poultry Science 16:541-543.

Haugh R R 1937 The Haugh unit for measuring egg quality. United States Egg. Poultry Magazine 43:522-555,572-573.

Krista L M Carlson C W and Olason O E 1961 Some effects of saline waters on chicks, laying hens, poults and ducklings. Poultry Science 40:935-944.

NRC 1974 Nutrients and toxic substances in water for livestock and poultry. National Academy of Science. Washington D. C pp 93.

Perek M and Kendler J 1962 Vitamin C supplementation to hens in a hot climate. Poultry Science 41:677-678.

SAS 1988 SAS Users guide. Statistics. SAS Inc., Cary, North Carolina, pp 575-607.

Task Force on Water Quality Guidelines 1987 Canadian water quality guidelines, prepared for the Canadian council of Resource and Environment Ministers, environment Canada, Ottawa.

Wages D P 1993 factors influencing water consumption and impact on antibacterial intake. Poultry International, March, 1993. Watt publishing Co. Illinois Pp 22-26.

 

Received 2  November 2001

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