Effect of full-fat sunflower or flaxseed seeds dietary inclusion on performance, egg yolk fatty acid profile and egg quality in laying hens

Anim Nutr. 2020 Jun;6(2):179-184. doi: 10.1016/j.aninu.2019.12.005. Epub 2020 Jan 23.


A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of the dietary inclusion of full-fat flaxseed or full-fat sunflower seeds on performance parameters, egg quality parameters and egg yolk fatty acid profile in laying hens. A total of 150 Babcock Brown hens at 27 weeks of age were distributed in 3 experimental treatments, as follows: T1, control; T2, diet containing 13.5% full-fat whole flaxseed seeds; and T3, diet containing 13.5% full-fat ground sunflower seeds. Feed and water were provided ad libitum and the experiment lasted for 8 weeks. No significant differences were found on egg quality parameters, but total egg production and rate of lay were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the group receiving sunflower seeds compared with the control, and significant differences (P < 0.05) in egg yolk saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids were observed, as well as in the n-6:n-3 ratio. The results show that the dietary inclusion of 13.5% flaxseed full-fat seeds significantly increases the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content in the eggs and lowers the n-6:n-3 ratio without affecting performance parameters. Inclusion of full-fat sunflower seeds increases the n-6 PUFA content but affects total egg production and rate of lay. Further studies are needed to determine the level of inclusion of full-fat sunflower seeds that does not affect performance.

Keywords: Egg quality; Flaxseed; Laying hens; Performance; Polyunsaturated fatty acid; Sunflower.