Molt induced by dietary zinc in a low-calcium diet.

S. W. Breeding, J. Brake, J. D. Garlich, A. L. Johnson

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Three experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that zinc has a specific effect independent of anorexia during induction of molt. In Experiment 1, hens were fed a low-calcium (.08%) basal molt diet to which was added 0, 110, 620, or 1,120 mg/kg (ppm) zinc as zinc sulfate heptahydrate (ZnSO4.7H2O) for 7 days and 0, 1, 400, 2,800, or 4,200 ppm zinc, respectively, for the following 14 days. In Experiment 2, hens were provided ad libitum access to the low-calcium basal molt diet with 2,800 ppm added zinc for 14 days during which a paired control hen received a similar amount of the low-calcium basal molt diet. In Experiment 3, hens were fed the low-calcium basal molt diet on a restricted basis amended with either 0 or 2,800 ppm zinc on a restricted basis for 10 days. In Experiment 1, all hens that consumed zinc had significantly fewer days to last oviposition as compared with control hens, and this occurred without significant differences in body weight or feed consumption for the lowest zinc group. When compared with the control group, higher levels of zinc did decrease body weight and feed consumption. In Experiment 2, the hens consuming the diet with 2,800 ppm zinc (Zn2800) reached last oviposition significantly sooner than control hens, although the Zn2800 hens actually consumed more feed. In Experiment 3, the Zn2800 hens lost more body weight than control hens due partially to earlier reproductive tract regression. Serum luteinizing hormone was increased in the Zn2800 hens.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-180
Number of pages13
JournalPoultry science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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