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South African Journal of Animal Science

On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589


YI, X.J. et al. Effects on egg production and quality of supplementing drinking water with calcium and magnesium. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2021, vol.51, n.4, pp.469-476. ISSN 2221-4062.

This study was conducted to appraise the effects on egg quality and production performance of laying hens when drinking water was supplemented with calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). A total of 384 (64-week-old) Hy-line Brown laying hens were assigned at random to four treatments, which consisted of CON: unsupplemented drinking water; T1: drinking water + 2 mg/L Ca + 250 mg/L Mg; T2: drinking water + 4 mg/L Ca + 510 mg/L Mg /10 L; and T3: drinking water + 5 mg/L Ca and 760 mg/L Mg. The experiment lasted six weeks. Water intake increased linearly in week 1 with the rising levels of Ca and Mg in the drinking water. Increasing the Ca and Mg levels improved eggshell strength (week 2 (P =0.01), week 5 (P =0.01), and week 6 (P = 0.03), and eggshell thickness (week 6) (P =0.02) and reduced the rate at which eggs were broken (week 4) (P =0.01). The supplemental Ca and Mg did not affect egg production, egg weight, Haugh unit, albumen height, eggshell colour, and yolk colour compared with CON. Nor did they influence the Haugh unit and albumen height after storing for 1, 5, 10 and 15 days. In conclusion, adding Ca and Mg to the drinking water increased the thickness and strength of the eggshells.

Keywords : eggshell; laying hens; minerals; poultry; water quality.

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