The cultivation of hemp was prohibited due to its high content of the psychoactive substance Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Regulatory changes from several countries allow the cultivation of hemp that permits plants and plant parts with less than 0.3% Δ-9 THC. The concern of the levels of THC still remains; therefore, testing hemp seed cake (HSC) contributes new information about the effect of this ingredient on livestock. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of HSC on feed intake, body weight (BW), egg production, eggs per hen housed (EHH), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and livability of laying hens. Eight hundred 30-week old laying hens were randomly distributed and fed four treatments for 19 weeks, no HSC (C0), 10% (H10), 20% (H20) and 30% (H30) of HSC replicated 8 times with 25 hens per replicate. Feed intake was not affected by the HSC supplementation. BWs were reduced across all treatments with significant lower impact on the HSC treatments, egg production, EHH and FCR were not consistently affected by HSC supplementation. The livability was within the normal range for the breed. The results of this study confirm that HSC supplementation in feed does not affect the performance of laying hens.
Key words: Hemp, hemp seed cake (HSC), performance, tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), safety.
THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol; Δ, delta symbol; BW, body weight; HSC, hemp seed cake; H0, no hemp seed cake; H10, 10% hemp seed cake; H20, 20% hemp seed cake; H30, 30% hemp seed cake; EHH, eggs per hen housed; FCR, feed conversion ratio; FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization; LA, Linoleic acid; ALA, α-linolenic acid; PUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acids; USDA, United States Department of Agriculture; NRC, National Research Council; EFSA, European Food Safety Authority; EPA, Eicosapentaenoic acid; DHA, Docosahexaenoic acid.
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