Layer performance, fatty acid profile and the quality of eggs from hens supplemented with Moringa oleifera whole seed meal
The objective of the study was to determine how the partial supplementation of Moringa oleifera whole seed meal (MOWSM) would affect layer performance, egg quality and egg fatty acid profile. One hundred and forty-four Hy-Line hens in early-lay (20-weeks-old), with an average body weight of 1.45 kg were randomly allocated to four dietary treatments which were formulated to meet or exceed the National Research Council standards for brown-egg laying hens. Dietary treatments consisted of 0 (control), 1, 3, and 5% MOWSM. Layer performance was monitored over a period of 8 weeks. The inclusion of MOWSM in layer diets reduced feed intake, bodyweight, the rate of lay, egg weight, and egg mass. Yolk colour was significantly improved by 1, 3 and 5% inclusion levels, while the albumen height decreased. The albumen weight, yolk weight, eggshell weight, eggshell thickness, and egg shape index showed no statistical differences across all treatment groups. Similarly, the saturated fatty acid profile was also not affected. Palmitoleic acid decreased with the increase in MOWSM inclusion, whilst linolelaidic acid increased. The atherogenicity index was not affected by MOWSM inclusion, while the thrombogenicity index increased when compared to the control diet. It was concluded that, although MOWSM inclusion improved yolk colour, maintained external egg quality, and improved the fatty acid profile, the deleterious effect that it had on layer performance indicated that it may not be fed to early-lay hens at these respective levels.
Keywords: Alternative protein, egg production, laying hens, oil seeds