The efficacy of diatomaceous earth (DE) on growth rate, egg production and on increasing feed conversion efficiency in deep litter raised layer hens was evaluated. The study was conducted at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) in Uganda. Worms were collected from fresh intestines of indigenous chicken obtained from Kalerwe chicken market near Kampala. The DE was mined in Pakwach (formerly Nebbi) district in Northern Uganda. Chickens of the Lohmann Brown breed raised on deep litter were studied. At 7 weeks the birds were divided into 5 treatment groups, A, B, C, D and E each composed of 40 birds. Groups C, D and E were given an oral dose containing 250 embryonated eggs of A. galli while groups A and B were not infected. The chicks were weighed; and subjected to feeding trials as arranged below: A – Non-infected birds on DE (4%) supplemented diet; B –non-infected birds on neither piperazine (a conventional de-wormer) nor DE; C – infected birds on DE supplemented diet; D – infected birds on piperazine; and group E – infected birds on neither DE nor piperazine applied. Fecal samples were collected and analysed in the laboratory biweekly at week 16 till week 22 respectively for fecal egg counts. In a subsequent experiment, day-old layer chicks from Lohmann Brown strain but different from those used in earlier experiments, were used to assess the effect of DE on egg production. At 17 weeks of age the 420 were divided as follows: 6 treatment groups each having 7 replicates and each replicate having 10 birds. This study showed that DE can be used successfully in growing pullet diets to correct nutritional mineral imbalance since it supplies more than 14 trace elements and other elements. Diatomaceous earth also enables pullets to cope with Ascaridia galli load; and 2% DE supplementation did not have significant improvement on egg production as compared to no supplementation at all. However, reduction in egg production was experienced when supplementation with levels of DE higher that 2% was applied. Results from biweekly fecal analyses showed significant differences in fecal egg counts (p<0.05); and treatment by group (p<0.05).
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