Use of semi-leafless peas (Pisum sativum L) in laying hen diets
Keywords:egg production, egg quality, feed, laying hen, pea
The study was conducted to evaluate an appropriate inclusion level of white-flowered semi-leafless green spring peas in diets for laying hens. Egg production and egg quality variables (specific weight, Haugh unit, shell strenght) were determined with 576 hens in a 52-week feeding experiment, which comprised of three feeding phases. The hens were offered one of the four cereal and soybean meal (SBM) based experimental diets. Peas were tested in proportions of 0, 100, 200 or 300 g kg-1 in the diet. Pea inclusion had no effects on production performance, feed consumption or feed conversion ratio (FCR) of the hens during the entire trial. The pea inclusion impaired FCR during the second feeding phase (p < 0.05) and increased birds’ live weight in a linear manner during the second and the third feeding phases (p < 0.05). Pea inclusion had no effects on egg quality. It can be concluded that at least 300 g kg-1 of the studied peas can be used in the diets of laying hens without negative effects on production performance or egg quality.