Oxidative stress plays a crucial role in the laying stage which is a critical period for chick survival. We investigated the relationship of neonatal chick performance, brain antioxidant status and vitamin E supplementation level in hens. Starting at 17 weeks, hens were randomly divided into five groups. The control group received a basal diet without supplemental vitamin E (VE, dl-α-tocopherol acetate). Other groups received the same basal diet supplemented with vitamin E (40, 80, 120 and 160 mg/kg) through growth to egg production. Hens were artificially inseminated at 28 weeks of age and egg yolks were collected at day two. All remaining eggs were hatched. Yolk vitamin E content, hatchability and fertility of eggs were evaluated. Brains of the newly hatched chicks were further evaluated for their oxidative stress status, antioxidative status and vitamin E levels. Increased reproductive performance was observed in fertility and hatchability in the group supplemented at 40 mg/kg. Egg yolk and neonatal brain α-tocopherol was highest in eggs from hens fed 120 mg/kg and 80 mg/kg supplemental vitamin E, respectively. Brain MDA, ROS and iron levels were significantly higher in unsupplemented hens (p<0.01). SOD activity was significantly higher in the group supplemented at 160 mg/kg than in all other groups. We concluded that maternal supplementation of vitamin E had beneficial effects on fertility, hatchability of eggs, neonatal brain oxidative status and SOD activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology