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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SAFEGUARDING WELL-BEING OF FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Onion consumption and bone density in laying hens

Authors
item Cheng, Heng Wei
item Dennis, Rachel

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Onion and its flavonoid component, quercetin, are associated with increased bone density in humans, rabbits, and rodents. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a similar effect of onion on laying hens. Thirty-two Hy-line W36 White Leghorn hens at 30 weeks of age were randomly divided into two groups, i.e., control and treatment (n=16 per group). The hens were kept at 2-hen/cage, providing 102 inch**2 (658 cm**2) per hen. The hens were fed regular laying ration or laying ration containing 5% onion powder (by wt) provided ad libitum for four weeks. The hens were evaluated for body weight (BW) at week 1, 2, 3, and 4; egg production and eggshell weight at week 2 and 4; and blood calcium, bone density and bone mineral contents at week 4. Data were analyzed using an ANOVA and repeated measures analysis when required. There was no differences in BW between the controls and treated hens from week 1 to 3 (P>0.05) while it was reduced in the treated hens at week 4 (P<0.05). Compare to the controls, both egg production and eggshell weight of the treated hens were increased at week 2 (P<0.05) but eggshell weight was reduced at week 4 (P<0.05). Blood calcium concentrations were lower at week 4 in the treated hens (P<0.05). The weight of bone ash of all examined bones (femur, tibia, and ulna) was not affected by the onion supplement (P>0.05); but the levels of phosphorus in both the femur and ulna’s ash was higher for the treated hens (P<0.05). In conclusion, these results indicate that onion consumption affects bone contents and metabolisms in laying hens. It provides signs for further investigating the mechanisms of onion consumption in bone plasticity in laying hens, especially in aged hens.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014