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Hens fed a form of vitamin D had more hatchable eggs and more immune chicks – March 2015

Effect of hen age and maternal vitamin D source on performance, hatchability, bone mineral density, and progeny in vitro early innate immune function.

Poult Sci. 2015 Mar 5. pii: pev002. [Epub ahead of print]
Saunders-Blades JL1, Korver DR2.
1Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2P5.
2Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2P5 doug.korver at ualberta.ca

The metabolite 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25-OHD) can complement or replace vitamin D3 in poultry rations, and may influence broiler production and immune function traits. The effect of broiler breeder dietary 25-OHD on egg production, hatchability, and chick early innate immune function was studied. We hypothesized that maternal dietary 25-OHD would support normal broiler breeder production and a more mature innate immune system of young chicks. Twenty-three-week-old Ross 308 hens (n = 98) were placed in 4 floor pens and fed either

  • 2,760 IU vitamin D3 (D) or
  • 69 μg 25-OHD/kg feed.

Hen weights were managed according to the primary breeder management guide. At 29 to 31 wk (Early), 46 to 48 wk (Mid), and 61 to 63 wk (Late), hens were artificially inseminated and fertile eggs incubated and hatched. Chicks were placed in cages based on maternal treatment and grown to 7 d age. Innate immune function and plasma 25-OHD were assessed at 1 and 4 d post-hatch on 15 chicks/treatment.
Egg production, hen BW, and chick hatch weight were not affected by diet (P > 0.05).
Total in vitro Escherichia coli (E. coli) killing by 25-OHD chicks was greater than the D chicks at 4 d for the Early and Mid hatches, and 1 and 4 d for the Late hatch. This can be partly explained by the 25-OHD chicks from the Late hatch also having a greater E. coli phagocytic capability.
No consistent pattern of oxidative burst response was observed.
Chicks from the Mid hatch had greater percent phagocytosis, phagocytic capability, and E. coli killing than chicks from Early and Late hatches.
Overall, maternal 25-OHD increased hatchability and in vitro chick innate immunity towards E. coli.
Regardless of treatment, chicks from Late and Early hens had weaker early innate immune responses than chicks from Mid hens.
The hen age effect tended to be the greatest factor influencing early chick innate immunity, but maternal 25-OHD also increased several measures relative to D.

© 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.

PMID: 25743414

See also VitaminDWiki

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