An examination of the earlier studies in the USA and Canada demonstrate that flax seeds are good source of omega 3 fatty acids. This experiment studies the effect of providing laying hens, with various levels of roasted and unroasted locally produced flax seeds. A key components of this experiment involved attentively observing the laying hens performance, and determining the fatty acids content of the eggs produced. Five levels of flax seeds 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 dry weight %, roasted or unroasted, were fed to 200 pullets in 5 replicates (4 birds/cage). The results indicated that feeding 5 or 10% roasted flax seed supported good egg production. Birds fed higher levels of unroasted flax seed had the lowest feed consumption. Livability, egg weight, yolk color and specific gravity values were not significantly affected by feeding flax seed
s. Feeding 15% unroasted flax seed s maintained higher omega-3 levels: that is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3n3) levels in egg, whereas feeding 5 or 15 weight % unroasted flax seed s resulted in the highest level of linoleic acid (C18:2n6) in the egg. Roasting the seeds did not improve the omega-3 content of the egg. Feeding flax, regardless of heat treatment, marginally increased the amount of cholesterol. The saturate palmitic acid (C16:0) was lower at 15% flax inclusion. We conclude that 10% flax seed added to feed supports good egg production. However, 15% inclusion of unroasted flax may relatively lower the egg production rate but would support an excellent profile of omega 3 fatty acids in the egg.
Key words: Docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, α-linolenic acid, production, flax seeds.
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