Effect of cereal grinding methods on egg quality
Spanish researchers looked at the influence of the method of grinding of the cereals used in layers diets on production and egg quality.
The studied took 420 Hy-line brown egg-laying hens, randomly placed with six treatments arranged as a 3 × 2 factorial with three cereals (barley, dented maize and soft wheat) and two grinding procedures (hammer mill vs. roller mill).
Each treatment was replicated seven times and the experimental unit was an enriched cage with ten hens. Production was recorded every four weeks from 24 to 59 weeks of age and egg quality was measured at 40 and 56 weeks of age.
For the entire experiment, feed intake was higher in hens fed wheat or maize than in hens fed barley (110.8 and 110.7 vs. 109.7 g/d; P = 0.014) but most of the differences were observed when the cereal was roller milled (P = 0.009 for the interaction). Also, egg production was similar for the three diets when the cereal was hammer milled but tended to be lower for the barley than for the wheat or maize diets when the cereal was roller milled (P = 0.09 for the interaction). None of the other productive or egg quality traits was affected by dietary treatment.
The researchers concluded that roller mills are useful to grind low fibre cereals, such as maize or wheat. However, the use of the roller mill might not be adequate when barley is the main cereal in diets for egg-laying hens.
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