Alleviating the environmental heat burden on laying hens by feeding on diets enriched with certain antioxidants (vitamin E and selenium) individually or combined

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Apr;24(11):10708-10717. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-8690-5. Epub 2017 Mar 11.


The present study was designed to alleviate the negative biohazards of high ambient temperature on the productive performance and physiological status of laying hens. A total of 135 Bovans laying hens were distributed into nine groups in a 3 × 3 factorial design experiment. Basal diet was supplemented with vitamin E at levels of 0, 250, and 500 mg /kg diet. Within each dietary vitamin E level, each diet was supplemented with sodium selenite as a source of selenium (Se) to supply 0, 0.25, and 0.50 mg Se/kg diet. Results showed that supplementing layer's diet with 500 mg vitamin E/kg was accompanied with the lowest feed consumption (FC) and feed conversion ratio (FCR). The interaction among vitamin E and Se levels exerted significant effects only on FC and FCR. Insignificant differences were observed in egg quality criteria due to the treatments studied. Increasing vitamin E level was associated with a gradual decrease in basophil count and an increase in monocytes. A gradual decrease in the count of each of heterophils, monocytes, and eosinophils was observed with the elevation in the dietary Se level. The combination among vitamin E and Se levels produced a significant effect on all hematological parameters studied. As vitamin E increased, a marked decrease in serum AST and a gradual increase in total lipids, total cholesterol, and calcium were observed. As the level of dietary Se increased, serum total protein, albumin, T4, total cholesterol, and total lipids increased. No significant impacts were detected for the interaction among vitamin E and Se levels on any of blood constituents determined except serum globulin, ALT, and calcium. In conclusion, the combination between vitamin E and Se showed a good ability to alleviate the harmful impacts of heat stress and produced the highest productive performance when compared with the other groups, which exhibit the synergistic effect between the two antioxidants.

Keywords: Blood; Egg production; Egg quality; Heat stress; Layers; Selenium; Vitamin E.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Chickens / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Selenium / metabolism*
  • Vitamin E / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium