Acta Vet. Brno 2010, 79: 29-34

Effect of the Feed Additive Clinoptilolite (ZeoFeed) on Nutrient Metabolism and Production Performance of Laying Hens

Miroslav Macháček1, Vladimír Večerek1, Nora Mas2, Pavel Suchý1, Eva Straková1, Vlasta Šerman2, Ivan Herzig1

1Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Science, Brno, Czech Republic,
2Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Received December 1, 2009
Accepted March 8, 2010

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of two levels of clinoptilolite administered in feed (2% and 4%) on some selected performance indicators, metabolic utilization of basic nutrients and the health status of laying hens. The selected 24 Bovans Goldline hybrid laying hens were divided into three equal groups, two experimental groups (E1 and E2) and one control group (C). The laying hens were housed individually in cages with an automatic supply of drinking water, manual feeding, in a setting with controlled light and temperature regimens. Hens from individual groups were all fed a complete feed mix of the same composition and the only difference was in clinoptilolite supplementation: feed mixes for E1 and E2 groups contained 2% and 4% of clinoptilolite (commercial additive ZeoFeed) respectively, replacing the same amounts of wheat. The hens received feed mixes and drinking water ad libitum. During this 28-day experiment, feed consumption and the number and weight of eggs laid were monitored individually for each hen. At the end of the experiment, the balance test using the indicator method (Cr2O3) was performed in all eight hens in each of the groups. The results of balance tests were then used to calculate the metabolic utilization of selected nutrients (nitrogen, fat, ash, nitrogen-free extracts, starch, gross energy, Ca, P). After the balance tests, blood samples for haematological and biochemical examinations were collected via puncture of the vena basilica. The addition of 2% clinoptilolite to feed mix resulted in a highly significant (P ⪬ 0.01) increase in mean egg weight to 64.69 g, but the addition of 4% clinoptilolite in group E2 resulted in a highly significant (P ⪬ 0.01) decrease in mean egg weight to 62.20 g compared to the control (63.73 g). Moreover, daily feed mix consumption in group E1 decreased to 114 g per one laying hen/day compared to the controls (118 g per one laying hen/day). In group E2 (4% clinoptilolite), daily consumption of feed mix increased compared with the controls to 124 g. The 2% clinoptilolite supplementation of E1 group feed slightly increased metabolic utilization of fat, nitrogen-free extracts, starch and gross energy compared to group C. Results of haematological test of the hens’ blood showed significant changes in haemoglobin, whose values in groups C and E1 were significantly higher (P ⪬ 0.05) than in group E2. Differences in the values of the biochemical indicators monitored (total protein, glucose, cholesterol, triacylglycerols, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and the AST enzyme) between group C and experimental groups E1 and E2 were not significant and remained within the range of reference values.