Performance and Egg Quality of Hens from Conservation Flocks Fed a Diet Containing Maize Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS)
The objective of the study was to evaluate laying performance and quality indices of consumption and hatching eggs in hens from conservation flocks fed a diet containing maize distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). A total of 360 Greenleg Partridge (Z-11) and Rhode Island Red (R-11) hens, included in the genetic resources conservation programme in Poland, were investigated. The good performance obtained by layers fed the DDGS diet indicates that maize distillers dried grains with solubles can serve as a useful source of protein in the nutrition of hens from conservation flocks, partly replacing imported soybean meal. The dietary inclusion of DDGS improved laying performance while maintaining hatchability traits and the quality of consumption eggs. The DDGS diet had an effect on nutritionally important egg quality traits, i.e. increased protein content of egg albumen and increased concentration of oleic and linoleic acids in yolk lipids, with a simultaneous increase in n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio. Dietary inclusion of DDGS also increased yolk colour intensity and Haugh units while having no effect on eggshell quality.