- Experiments involving poults were conducted with the primary objective of studying the effects of sodium chloride on field rickets. A
second objective was to study the effects of mineral elements on reproduction of turkey breeder males and females. Three experiments were
conducted with poults. A comparison of added dietary sodium chloride
at levels of 0, .075, .10, .25, and .45% showed that there were significant
differences in body weight gains, blood calcium, magnesium and
sodium, feed conversion and adrenal gland weights among the treatments. Mortality and abnormal bone scores decreased with increasing
sodium chloride levels. Vitamin D-like bone defects caused a rib-beading
effect and the tibia/femur showed an abnormally round, large
growth. The bones were soft and failed to calcify.
In a second experiment with sodium chloride at levels of 0, .025,
.05, .10, .20, and .40%, significant differences were found in weight
gains, feed conversion and thyroid gland weight between the two highest
and four lowest treatments. Feed conversion, mortality and bone abnormalities decreased with increasing sodium chloride levels.
When sodium was fed to the poults at levels of either 0, .09, .10,
.11, and .12% or chloride at levels of 0, .009, .01, .02, and .03%, in
comparison to a control group with sodium chloride levels of .50%,
significant difference were found in weekly weight gains, bone ash,
bone breaking strength, tibia weight/body weight and serum alkaline
phosphatase levels between the sodium, chloride and control groups.
Microscopic lesions were variable and more marked in the groups fed the
low sodium and chloride diets. Medullary spaces of the proximal metaphysis
contained undifferentiated mesenchymal cells, Collagen and osteoclasts lined the trabeculae. Tibiatarsi from affected poults were
soft to the knife and nervous symptoms accompanied by extended legs and
semi-paralysis were observed in the three duplicate lots fed the lowest
chloride feed levels. Bone abnormality scores decreased with increasing
levels of both sodium and chloride diets.
Four experiments were completed on mineral effects on breeder hens
performance. When a calcium level of .45% was fed intermittently to
turkey hens for 3.5, 7, and 14 days respectively, and 2.2% calcium
level fed as control, significant differences were found in egg production, shell thickness and shell breaking strength between the groups
fed the control and low calcium at 3.5 days interval compared to those
fed .45% dietary calcium for 7 and 14 days. No significant differences
were found in egg shape index, hatchability and feed per dozen eggs.
An experiment with three added dietary levels of salt (0, .25, and
.50%) in holding rations fed to turkey hens showed significant differences in subsequent egg production and shell thickness between the three
groups. There were no significant differences in egg weight and egg shape
When rations with three dietary levels of added salt (0, .25, and
.50%) were fed to turkey hens, significant differences were found in egg
production, shell thickness and egg weights between the lowest and two
highest levels. There were numerical but non-significant differences
in percent fertility and hatchability. When dietary salt levels of 0,
.10, and .50% were fed to turkey hens and the chloride levels balanced
by calcium chloride, significant differences were found in egg production, shell thickness, egg weights and blood sodium levels between the
three treatments. Pimpling of egg shell and abnormal embryonic development with petechiae hemorrhages were seen in hens fed the two lowest
levels of dietary salt.
Four experiments were completed with turkey breeder males. Significant differences were found in semen and spermatozoa packed cell
volumes between the treatments when three rations with dietary calcium
levels of either .15, .45 or 2.2% were fed to the turkey males. Numerical differences were seen in dead spermatozoa and fertility.
An experiment with a high zinc oxide level (0 and 3,000 ppm) in the
diet fed to turkey males showed significant differences in semen and spermatozoa packed cell volumes and haemocytometer spermatozoa count
between the two groups. When the feed was supplemented with four
levels of zinc oxide (0, 3,000, 15,000 and 30,000 ppm) semen and
packed cell volumes, feed consumption and body weights were significantly different between the two lowest levels and the two highest
dietary zinc oxide levels. Numerical differences were seen in the
percent live-dead spermatozoa.
When rations with three dietary salt levels (0, .25, and .50%)
were fed to turkey males, significant differences were found in semen
and spermatozoa packed cell volumes between the lowest and the two
highest salt levels.
The finding in these investigations showed that with a rapidly
growing strain of poults .25 to .55% total dietary salt is required
for maximum growth and prevention of field rickets. Also .18% and
.07% total dietary sodium and chloride were found inadequate for
maintaining maximum growth as compared to .50% dietary salt, but
reduced incidence of field rickets. The intermittent feeding of
low dietary calcium levels to turkey layers reduced egg production
intensity, shell thickness and shell breaking strength. The feeding
of low dietary sodium levels to layers reduced egg production, caused
egg shell pimpling, and adversely affected embryonic development.
Total dietary salt levels of .30 to .58% fed to layers positively
affected egg production and egg quality. In turkey males levels
of 3,000 ppm zinc oxide or higher were found detrimental to
both efficiency and semen quality. The feeding of total dietary salt
levels of .37 to .60%, and .15% calcium were found adequate for ensuring good semen quality and other physiological functions.