Effect of palm kernel (Elaeis guineensis) meal on laying, egg quality and economic feasibility of old laying hens

Y. Martínez, J. L. Bonilla, M. A. Sevilla, I. Matamoros, A. Botello, M. Valdivié


A total of 240 Dekalb White® hens, 100 weeks old, were randomly distributed into two treatments for 20 weeks, with four repetitions per treatment and 30 animals per repetition, to evaluate the effect of palm kernel meal on productivity, egg quality and economic feasibility of old laying hens. The experimental treatments consisted on a control diet and the inclusion of 20 % of palm kernel meal. Laying intensity (5.19%) improved (P < 0.05) with palm kernel meal, as well as food intake (5 g/hens/day) and mass conversion (from 2.45 to 2.40 kg/kg). In addition, the percentage of dirty eggs was reduced (2.2%), although without
notable changes for egg weight, live weight and mortality of hens (P > 0.05). At week 115, yolk color (4) became more intense (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 20% of palm kernel. Also, at week 120, the diet with palm kernel meal improved (P <0.05) the resistance to shell rupture, its thickness and yolk color. The inclusion of 20% of meal reduced (P <0.05) costs of feed (80.43 USD), of consumed feed (2.87%) and the cost of producing an egg (0.01 USD). The inclusion of 20% of palm kernel meal
in diets for old laying hens is recommended as a way to increase egg production, improve their external and internal quality, and increase the economic profitability of poultry industry.
Keywords: African palm tree, old hen, productive response, economic response

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