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The Role of Magnesium and Calcium in Eggshell Formation in Tsaiya Ducks and Leghorn Hens

  • Shen, T.F. (Department of Animal Science, National Taiwan University) ;
  • Chen, W.L. (Department of Animal Science, National Taiwan University)
  • Published : 2003.02.01

Abstract

Tsaiya ducks and Leghorn hens are the two major laying birds raised in Taiwan. They are all excellent egg layers. Tsaiya ducks are small in body size (1.3 kg) with bigger egg weight (65 g) and stronger eggshell breaking strength than eggs from hens. The eggshell consists mainly of calcium carbonate, hence calcium plays an important role in the eggshell formation. Magnesium is also present in eggshell in small amounts, which may have effect on maintaining eggshell quality. In comparison studies, it was shown that the duck eggshells contained higher calcium and lower magnesium content than chicken eggshells. The eggshell magnesium content was not affected by the dietary magnesium levels (690-2380 ppm) in ducks, but in hens, it increased linearly with dietary magnesium levels. The palisade layer ($5000{\times}$) of the eggshell was found to have a compact form for ducks while there are many hallow vesicles in chicken eggshells. The eggshell magnesium deposition model is different for ducks and hens with ducks having a one-peak and hens having a two-peak model. The calcium deposition model is similar for both birds. Both the carbonic anhydrase specific activity and total activity in the shell gland mucosa of ducks are higher than those in hens. Ducks retain higher magnesium and lower calcium in the shell gland mucosa and secret less magnesium and more calcium into the shell gland lumen for eggshell deposition. The ATPase specific activity is maintained fairly constant during the eggshell forming stage, indicating continuous calcium transport into the shell gland lumen for eggshell formation. The magnesium content in duck eggshells is much lower than that in hens indicating that the magnesium content in the eggshell may have an effect on eggshell quality.

Keywords

Calcium;Magnesium;Eggshell;Tsaiya Duck;Leghorn Hen

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