Effect of Red Pepper (Capsicum frutescens) Powder or Red Pepper Pigment on the Performance and Egg Yolk Color of Laying Hens

  • Li, Huaqiang (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • Jin, Liji (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • Wu, Feifei (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • Thacker, Philip (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • Li, Xiaoyu (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • You, Jiansong (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • Wang, Xiaoyan (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology) ;
  • Liu, Sizhao (College of Life Science, Liaoning Normal University) ;
  • Li, Shuying (Dalian SEM Bio-Engineering Technology Co. Ltd.) ;
  • Xu, Yongping (School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology)
  • Received : 2012.04.30
  • Accepted : 2012.06.23
  • Published : 2012.11.01


Two experiments were conducted to study the effects of red pepper (Capsicum frutescens) powder or red pepper pigment on the performance and egg yolk color of laying hens. In Exp. 1, 210, thirty-wk old, Hy-line Brown laying hens were fed one of seven diets containing 0.3, 0.6, 1.2, 2.0, 4.8 or 9.6 ppm red pepper pigment or 0.3 ppm carophyll red. Each diet was fed to three replicate batteries of hens with each battery consisting of a row of five cages of hens with two hens per cage (n = 3). In Exp. 2, 180, thirty-wk old, Hyline Brown laying hens, housed similarly to those in Exp. 1, were fed an unsupplemented basal diet as well as treatments in which the basal diet was supplemented with 0.8% red pepper powder processed in a laboratory blender to an average particle size of $300{\mu}m$, 0.8% red pepper powder processed as a super fine powder with a vibrational mill ($44{\mu}m$) and finally 0.8% red pepper powder processed as a super fine powder with a vibrational mill but mixed with 5% $Na_2CO_3$ either before or after grinding. A diet supplemented with 0.3 ppm carophyll red pigment was also included (n = 3). In both experiments, hens were fed the red pepper powder or pigment for 14 days. After feeding of the powder or pigment was terminated, all hens were fed the basal diet for eight more days to determine if the dietary treatments had any residual effects. In Exp. 1, there were no differences in egg-laying performance, feed consumption or feed conversion ratio due to inclusion of red pepper pigment in the diet. Average egg weight was higher (p<0.05) for birds fed 1.2, 2.4 or 9.6 ppm red pepper pigment than for birds fed the diet containing 0.3 ppm red pepper pigment. On d 14, egg color scores increased linearly as the level of red pepper pigment in the diet increased. In Exp. 2, feeding red pepper powder did not affect egg-laying performance, feed consumption or feed conversion ratio (p>0.05). However, compared with the control group, supplementation with all of the red pepper powder treatments increased egg weight (p<0.05). All the red pepper powder treatments also increased (p<0.05) the yolk color score compared with the control. The results of the present study suggest that both red pepper powder and pigment are effective feed additives for improving egg yolk color for laying hens.


Egg Yolk Color;Egg Weight;Laying Hens;Pigments;Red Pepper Powder


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