Impacts of Limestone Multi-particle Size on Production Performance, Egg Shell Quality, and Egg Quality in Laying Hens

  • Guo, X.Y. (Department of Animal Resource and Science, Dankook University) ;
  • Kim, I.H. (Department of Animal Resource and Science, Dankook University)
  • Received : 2011.12.07
  • Accepted : 2012.01.31
  • Published : 2012.06.01


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of single or multi-particle size limestone on the egg shell quality, egg production, egg quality and feed intake in laying hens. A total of 280 laying hens (ISA brown) were used in this 10-wk trial. Laying hens were randomly assigned to 4 treatments with 14 replications per treatment and 5 adjacent cages as a replication (hens were caged individually). The experimental treatments were: i) L, basal diet+10% large particle limestone; ii) LS1, basal diet+8% large particle limestone+2% small particle limestone; iii) LS2, basal diet+6% large particle limestone+4% small particle limestone; iv) S, basal diet+10% small particle limestone. The egg production was unaffected by dietary treatments. The egg weight in S treatment was lighter than other treatments (p<0.05). The egg specific gravity in S treatment was lower than other treatments (p<0.05). The eggshell strength and eggshell thickness in S treatment were decreased when compared with other dietary treatments (p<0.05). The laying hens in LS1 and LS2 treatment had a higher average feed intake than the other two treatments (p<0.05). Collectively,the dietary multi-particle size limestone supplementation could be as efficient as large particle size limestone.


Egg Quality;Egg Shell Quality;Layers;Limestone;Particle Size


  1. Ahmad, H. A. and R. J. Balander. 2003. Alternative feeding regimen of calcium source and phosphorus level for better eggshell quality in commercial layers. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 12: 509-154.
  2. Ajakaiye, A., J. O. Atteh and S. Leeson. 1996. Effects of calcium source, particle size and time on in-vitro calcium solubility of some indigenous Nigerian mineral ingredients for poultry diets. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 65:293-298.
  3. Boorman, K. N. and S. P. Gunaratne. 2001. Dietary phosphorus supply, egg-shell deposition and plasma inorganic phosphorus in laying hens. Br. Poult. Sci. 42:81-91.
  4. Cheng, T. K. and C. N. Coon. 1990. Effect on layer performance and shell quality of switching limestone with different solubilities. Poult. Sci. 69:2199-2203.
  5. Ekmay, R. D. and C. N. Coon. 2009. The effects of reduced NPP levels and limestone particle size on production, skeletal integrity, progeny quality and P balance in broiler breeder hens. Short communications. Page 189 In: Proceedings and abstracts of 17th European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  6. Ekmay, R. D. and C. N. Coon. 2010. The effect of limestone particle size on the performance of three broiler breeder purelines. Int. J. Poult. Sci. 9(11):8-1042.
  7. Elaroussi, M. A., L. R. Forte, S. L. Eber and H. V. Biellier. 1994. Calcium homeostasis in the laying hen. Poult. Sci. 73:1581-1589.
  8. Guinote, F. 1987. Efficacite de differentes sources de calcium pour l'ossification du poulet et la qualité de la coquille de l'oeuf. Role de la secretion acide dans leur utilization digestive. Rapport Bibliographique, Station de Recherches Avicoles, INRA Tours-Nouzilly, pp. 1-56.
  9. Guinote, F. and Y. Nys. 1991. Effects of particle size and origin of calcium sources on eggshell quality and bone mineralization in egg of laying hens. Poult. Sci. 70:583-92.
  10. Guinote, F., J. Gautron, Y. Nys and A. Soumarmon. 1995. Calcium solublization and retention in the gastro-intestinal tract in chicks (Gallus domesticus) as a function of gastric acid secretion inhibition and of calcium carbonate particle size. Br. J. Nutr. 73(1):125-39.
  11. Jones, L. R. 2007. Calcium dynamics affecting egg production, skeletal integrity, and egg coloration in ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). Master Diss. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah.
  12. Kermanchoi, H. and A. Golion. 1991. Effects of various sources of calcium upon egg shell quality and laying hen performance. Quality of Poultry Products. II Eggs and egg products, 147-59.
  13. Manangi, M. and C. N. Coon. 2006. Calcium particle size effects on plasma, excreta and urinary Ca and P changes in broiler breeder hens. Poult. Sci. 85(Suppl.1):30.
  14. Nam, K. T., H. A. Lee, Y. J. Joo, K. H. Kim and C. W. Kang. 1998. Influence of builder's sand on the TME of linseed for poultry. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 72:199-201.
  15. Nys, Y. 1999. Nutritional factors affecting eggshell quality. Czech J. Anim. Sci. 44:135-143.
  16. Pavlovski, Z., D. Vitorovic, Z. Skrbic and S. Vracar. 2000. Influence of limestone particle size in diets for hens and oviposition time on eggshell quality. Acta Vet. 50:37-42.
  17. Pavlovski Z., D. Vitorovic, M. Lukic and Spasojevic Ivana. 2003. Improving eggshell quality by replacement of puverised limestone by granular limestone in the hen diet. Acta Vet. (Beograd) 53:35-40.
  18. Richard, M. P. 2003. Genetic regulation of feed intake and energy balance in poultry. Poult. Sci. 82:907-916.
  19. Richter, G., G. Kiessling, W. I. Ochrimenko and H. Ludke. 1999. Influence of particle size and calcium source on limestone solubility in vitro, performance and eggshell quality in laying hens. Arch. Geflugelkunde 63:208-213.
  20. Roberts, J. and J. Nolan. 1997. Egg and egg shell quality in five strains of laying hen and the effect of calcium source and hen age. Proc. The 13th and 7th European Symposium on the quality of poultry meat and on the quality of eggs and egg products.Poznan, Poland, Sept. 21-26.
  21. Roberts, J. R. 2004. Factors affecting egg internal quality and egg shell quality in laying hens. J. Poult. Sci. 41:161-177.
  22. Roland, D. and M. Bryant. 1999. Optimal shell quality is possible without oyster shell. Feedstuffs 18-19.
  23. Roland, D. A. and M. Bryant. 2000. Nutrition and feeding for optimum egg shell quality. Proc. The XXI world's Poultry Congress, Montreal, Canada.
  24. Stadelman, W. J. and O. J. Coterill. 1977. Egg production practice. In: Egg science and technology, 2nd Ed. AVI publishing company, ING, Westport, Connecticut. p. 23.
  25. Tortuero, F. and C. Centeno. 1977. Influence of different dietary calcium levels on carotenoid utilization in egg yolk pigmentation. Avances en alimentacion y mejora animal. 18:501-504.
  26. Van Wambeke, F. and G. DeGroote. 1986. L'influence du moment de l'alimentation et du replacement partiel de la craie en poudre par des coquilles d'huitres comme source de calcium sur les resultats de reproduction de deux souches de poules reproduction du type chair. Rev. I'Agric. 39:137.
  27. Yang, M. H., Z. Y. Wang and J. Lu. 2009. Study on the relationship between egg colors and egg quality as well as shell ultrastructure in Yangzhou chicken. Afr. J. Biotechnol. 8:2898-2902.
  28. Zhang, B. and C. Coon. 1997. The relationship of calcium intake, source, size solubility in vitro and in vivo and gizzard limestone retention in laying hens. Poult. Sci. 76:1702-1706.