Effect of excess folic acid on egg production, fertility and hatchability in layer breeders
Folic acid (FA) (also known as folate or vitamin B9) is essential for all tissues with a high rate of cellular division and growth and therefore very important in reproduction. The present study was planned to see the effect of FA supplementation on productive and reproductive performance of layer breeders. A total of 105 cocks of the sire line and 906 hens of the dam-line were randomly assigned to 4 floor pens in a deep litter trial and mated at a ratio of 1 cock : 8.6 hens. Two dietary treatments were used: an unsupplemented practical corn-soybean meal basal diet and the basal diet supplemented with 50 mg of FA/kg of diet. Egg production, feed intake, mortality, fertility, hatchability and related parameters were measured during 36 to 39 wk of age. Compared with birds fed control diet, excess FA supplementation reduced (P<0.0001) feed intake and percentage hen day egg production (P<0.05). Egg weight, fertility and hatchability were similar in the laying hens fed the two dietary treatments. The BW of the newly hatched chicks was increased (P<0.05) with the supplementation of FA to the diet when compared with the control treatment. Percent mortality of layer breeders was unaffected by FA dietary treatment. Clearly, supplemental folic acid is not required to maximize layer breeders fertility and hatchability.