Ground annatto seeds (Bixa orellana L.) in sorghum-based commercial layer diets and their effects on performance, egg quality, and yolk pigmentation
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Consumer demands for healthy foods have stimulated the research on the use of natural products in animal nutrition. Annatto can be used a pigmentation source to improve yolk color of commercial eggs. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of the inclusion of ground annatto seeds on the performance and egg quality of layers fed sorghum-based diets. A total of 336 40-w-old hens were distributed according to randomized blocks into seven treatments with six replicates of eight birds each. The following treatments were applied: T1- egg production feed based on corn and soybean meal; T2- egg production feed based on sorghum and soybean meal; T3, T4, T5, T6, and T7- egg production feed based on sorghum supplemented with 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5% ground annatto seeds, respectively. As to performance parameters, only egg production was influenced, with hens fed the corn-based diet producing more eggs than those fed the sorghum-based diet with inclusion of 1.5 and 2.5% de annatto. The only egg quality parameter affected by treatments was the color of yolk, which pigmentation increased with increasing levels of ground annatto seeds. It is concluded that ground annatto seeds can be supplemented in sorghum-based production feeds for layers, and that the inclusion level of 0.89% is sufficient to promote the same yolk pigmentation as that obtained with corn-based diets.
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