Effect of Dietary Zinc Level on Egg Production Performance and Eggshell Quality Characteristics in Laying Duck Breeders in Furnished Cage System

Abstract

In order to investigate the effect of dietary Zn levels on laying performance, eggshell quality, and eggshell microstructure in Muscovy duck breeders under furnished cages. Firstly, the effects of age (35 weeks vs 40 weeks) and rearing system (littered floor vs furnished cage) on eggshell quality of laying duck breeders were studied (Exp. 1). Then, a total of 324 30-week-old Muscovy duck breeders were allotted into 3 dietary Zn groups with 6 replicates (18 ducks per replicate), including 0 mg Zn/kg (control-Zn group, C-Zn), 40 mg Zn/kg (normal-Zn group, N-Zn), and 140 mg Zn/kg (high-Zn group, H-Zn). The experimental period for 6 weeks was divided into 3 periods of 30–32, 32–34, and 34–36 weeks of age (Exp. 2). In Exp. 1, duck breeder eggs in the furnished cage system had lower the average shell thickness than birds in the littered floor system at 40 weeks of age (P < 0.05), not at 35 weeks of age. In Exp. 2, N-Zn and H-Zn groups had greater egg weight, egg production, and egg to feed ratio of duck breeders than C-Zn group (P < 0.05). Additionally, H-Zn group had higher laying rate, qualified egg ratio, and Haugh unit as well as lower mammillary cone width than C-Zn group (P < 0.05), with no differences between C-Zn and N-Zn groups (P > 0.05). Diet supplemented with 140 mg Zn/kg increased shell thickness and palisade layer thickness of duck breeders at 36 weeks of age (P < 0.05), but not at 32 and 34 weeks of age. In conclusion, diets with 40 or 140 mg Zn/kg improved egg production performance and egg quality of laying duck breeders during 30–36 weeks of age in a furnished cage system. Dietary supplementation of 140 mg Zn/kg level increased the ultrastructural palisade layer thickness contributing to greater eggshell thickness of duck breeders at 36 weeks of age.

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Fig. 2

Abbreviations

FC :

furnished cage

LF :

littered floor

CA :

carbonic anhydrase

Zn :

zinc

C-Zn :

control Zn group with 0 mg Zn/kg diet

N-Zn :

normal Zn group with 40 mg Zn/kg diet

H-Zn :

high Zn group with 140 mg Zn/kg diet

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Funding

This study was sponsored by the Guangdong Provincial Natural Science Foundation for Starting Ph. D (2017A030310398 and 2018A030310202), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31802080 and 31972584), National Waterfowl Industry Program in China (CARS-42-15), National Key Research and Development Projects in China (2018YFD0501502), and Open Project Program of Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing, 100081, China.

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YWZ, LH, and JJS were responsible for the planning of the study, sample collections, analyses, and the manuscript writing. DQL, WCW, and YF were involved in the sample collections, biological analysis, and statistical analyses. LY and YWZ were involved in the experimental design and data interpretations. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Lin Yang or Yongwen Zhu.

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All procedures of our experiments were approved by the animal care and welfare committee institute of South China Agricultural University.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Huang, L., Shen, J., Feng, Y. et al. Effect of Dietary Zinc Level on Egg Production Performance and Eggshell Quality Characteristics in Laying Duck Breeders in Furnished Cage System. Biol Trace Elem Res 196, 597–606 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-019-01927-9

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Keywords

  • Duck breeders
  • Eggshell microstructure
  • Eggshell thickness
  • Zinc