Consequences of various housing systems and dietary supplementation of thymol, carvacrol, and euganol on performance, egg quality, blood chemistry, and antioxidant parameters.
The present work was carried out to investigate the influences of housing system and dietary essential oils (EOs) supplementation to laying hens on the productive performance, egg quality, immunity, antioxidant parameters, and hematology. A factorial arrangement (2 × 4) was performed, including 2 housing systems and 4 different types of EOs (without EOs, thymol, carvacrol, and euganol) during the production stages (from 28-78 wk of age). Birds were randomly divided into 2 groups with each of 2,000 birds. The first group was moved to laying cages while the second group was a floor reared. Each group was randomly divided into 4 groups (5 replicates of 100 birds each): The first were considered as a control group, and the second, third, and fourth groups were treated with thymol, carvacrol, and euganol EO, respectively. The results showed that hens reared in cage system had higher egg weight (P < 0.05), egg production, egg mass, and feed intake and better feed conversion ratio (P 0.05) by housing system. The groups fed EOs showed a rapid improvement (P < 0.001) in the egg production%, egg weight, egg mass, and egg quality. Thymol group had the highest egg production (P < 0.001). Thymol and eugenol groups had the highest egg weight, egg mass, and egg quality (P < 0.001). The groups fed diets containing thymol or eugenol consumed lower feed and had better feed conversion ratio (P < 0.001) than the control group. Immunity indices (phagocytic activity [P < 0.05], avian influenza [AIH5 and AIH9], P < 0.001) were improved with the presence of EOs in the laying hen diet. These results strongly suggest that dietary EO supplementation could be a successful attempt to improve the productive performance, egg quality, and immunity of laying hens.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.