1Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Animal Science and Fisheries Sari Agricultural Science and Natural Resources University, Sari, Iran
2The Excellence Center for Animal Science and Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
Receive Date: 25 September 2012,
Revise Date: 20 November 2012,
Accept Date: 31 December 2012
A 3 × 3 factorial experiment with three levels of fennel extract (FE) (0, 50, and 100 mg/kg of diet) and three levels of added vitamin D3 (Vit D3) (0, 3500 and 4200 IU/kg of diet), was carried out to evaluate reproductive performanceand immune response of post molted broiler breeders(76-84 weeks).Broiler breeders were weighed at 10 week after molting (74 weeks) then randomly distributed into 36 pens in order to have a similar mean pen body weight (BW). Each pen consisted of 10 hens and 1 rooster. The birds received experimental diets at 74 weeks of age. Performance data were recorded daily, whereas egg quality traits were determined every 4 weeks. To determine the settable hatch, fertile hatch, embryonic mortality, real hatch, chick quality, chick sexing, chick weight and relative chick weight, eggs from each pen were collected three times a week, marked and incubated in a commercial hatchery for 21 days. Two blood samples were taken from two hens in each pen to assay Newcastle and Influenza antibody titers every two weeks.Dietary fennel extract supplementation significantly increased egg production, chick quality and improved Newcastle antibody titer over time (P<0.022). Furthermore, the addition of FE to diet significantly decreased double yolk and pewee eggs (P<0.001). Yolk color was affected by the addition of vitamin D3 in the whole experimental period. Significant interactions between FE and vitamin D3 on embryonic mortality were observed. The results of this study showed that supplementation of diet with FE exhibits beneficial effects on egg production, double yolk eggs, peewee eggs, chick quality, and Newcastle antibody titer. Dietarysupplementation of vitamin D3improved yolk color with no adverse effect on productive performance.
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