Differential preference for ultraviolet light among captive birds from three ecological habitats
- egan R. Rossa, Katie L. Gillespiea, Lydia M. Hoppera, ollie A. Bloomsmithb, Terry L. Maplec
Four experiments were conducted using Ross x Ross chicks hatched from broiler breeder hens fed various levels of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3; 0 to 4,000 IU/kg of diet) to determine the effect of the maternal diet on the performance and leg abnormalities of the progeny. Chicks hatched from eggs laid by the hens at different ages were used in experiments 1 to 4. The studies were conducted in an ultraviolet light-free environment as split plot designs, with Ca levels or 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25-OHD3) in the chicks' diet as the whole plot, and vitamin D3 in the maternal diet as a subplot. Chicks in experiments 1 and 2 were fed 2 levels of Ca (0.63% or 0.90%) and chicks in experiments 3 and 4 were fed 6 levels of 25-OHD3 (0 to 40 microg/kg of diet). Significant increases in body weight gain (BWG) of the progeny were observed in experiments 1, 2, and 4 as the vitamin D3 level in the maternal diet increased. Chicks hatched from eggs laid by hens fed the highest levels of D3 had the highest tibia ash. Significant reductions in Ca rickets incidence (experiments 1 and 2) and tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) incidence (experiment 1) were observed as the level of vitamin D3 in the maternal diet increased. Chicks fed lower levels of Ca had lower BWG and tibia ash and higher incidences of TD and Ca rickets than chicks fed higher levels of Ca. Increasing the level of 25-OHD3 in the chicks' diet significantly improved BWG, tibia ash, and plasma Ca and reduced TD and Ca rickets incidence. An overall evaluation of the study indicates that chicks from hens fed the highest levels of vitamin D3 and fed high levels of Ca or 25-OHD3 had the highest BWG, tibia ash, and plasma Ca, and the lowest incidences of TD and Ca rickets.