Feed Influence on Eye Color in White Leghorn Chickens

Feed Influence on Eye Color in White Leghorn Chickens

Research Notes FEED INFLUENCE ON EYE COLOR IN WHITE LEGHORN CHICKENS TABLE 1.—Rations High pigment group Low pigment group White corn meal Ground o...

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Research Notes FEED INFLUENCE ON EYE COLOR IN WHITE LEGHORN CHICKENS

TABLE 1.—Rations

High pigment group

Low pigment group White corn meal Ground oats Wheat mids Wheat bran Drie3 milk Meat scraps Sardine meal Soybean meal Extracted alfalfa meal* ' Oyster shell flour

14 lb. 7§ " 74 "

Yellow corn meal Ground oats Wheat mids Wheat bran Alfalfa meal Dried milk Meat scraps Sardine meal Soybean meal Oyster shell flour

n"

24 " 24 " 24 " " 24. " 2§ " 1 "

SO lb. Salt mixture Cod liver oil Wheat as grain feed

14 lb. 74 " 74 " 5 " 5 " 24 " 24 « 24 " ol « i-1

1

"

50 lb.

lib.

Salt mixture Cod liver oil Cracked yellow corn as grain feed

4 «

Jib.

4 «

* Furnished by the Michigan State College Experiment Station.

tion against chickens with apparently normal light yellow or normal gray eyes. Random observations on hens in laying batteries suggested that following prolonged production the iridic color became lighter similar to the depigmentation of the skin, beak, and shanks. The variation of carotenoid pigment concentration in the body of the chicken is ascribed to the following factors: concentration of the carotenoids in the feed, egg production, age, breed, and pigment supressing factor in the diet. Hollander and Owen (1939) demonstrated by solubility tests, that the

white corn meal, extracted alfalfa meal and' a greater proportion of bran. The high pigment group (Lot 2) received yellow corn meal, a lesser amount of bran and twice the usual amount of alfalfa meal. Lots 1 and 2 received wheat and cracked yellow corn respectively as grain feed. No attempt was made to grade or classify the eye color in the live bird following the feeding period although marked visual differences were apparent in the iris as well as in the shanks and the skin. After 141 days on the altered rations,

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yellow pigment of the iris is similar to that of the shanks, ear lobes, eye ring, and skin. This note is a preliminary report on the influence of ration on the iris color. Twenty-two White Leghorn chickens were divided into two lots and placed on low and high carotenoid rations at twelve weeks of age (Table 1). The ration of the low pigment group (Lot 1) contained

Since the pathological "gray eye" has been recognized as a manifestation of lymphomatosis in the chicken, attention has been directed to the iris color. It has been explained (Nelson, 1943) that ocular lymphomatosis cannot be diagnosed on color changes alone. In the attempt to control lymphomatosis °by selection it is probable that there has been discrimina-

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RESEARCH NOTES

the birds were killed by electrocution, and the anterior segment of each eye globe was bisected just posterior to the outer border of the scleral ring. The paired

ration group (Table 2). Due to inadequate numbers and the uncontrollable factor of egg production, a conclusion could not be drawn from the effect of egg production.

T A B L E 2 . — Electrophotometric

readings on extracted carotenoid pigments of the irides Low carotenoid ration

Number of birds

Logarithmic reading

Number of birds

Logarithmic reading

10 S 5 2 3

9.7 10. S 8.9 7.1 10.1

12 7 5 4 1

23.4 32.6 10.6 9.1 16.5

segments were dried in vacuum over anhydrous calcium sulfate (Drierite*) and the pigment extracted by 95 percent ethyl alcohol. Comparative pigment concentration was determined by the use of an electrophotometer (Fischer) with a blue filter (Max. trans. 425 MU). Readings on sample material demonstrated a direct linear relation between pigment concentration and the logarithmic scale of the photometer. The mean of readings of both sexes on the low carotenoid ration was 9.7 as compared to 23.4 for birds of the high * Hammond Drierite Co., Yellow Springs, Ohio.

The data were interpreted, however, to show a significant influence by the feed on eye color in the chicken. NORMAN M.

NELSON

Bureau of Animal Industry Regional Poultry Research Laboratory East Lansing, Michigan Received for publication August 5, 1944. REFERENCES

Hollander, W. F., and R. D. Owen, 1939. The carotenoid nature of yellow pigment in the chicken iris. Poul. Sci. 18,385-387. Nelson, N. M., and Frank Thorp, Jr., 1943. Ocular lymphomatosis, with special reference to chromatism of the irides. Amer. Jour. Vet. Res. 4:294-304.

AN IMPROVED METHOD OF OBTAINING BLOOD FROM THE CHICKEN HEART 1 The increased interest in the bacteriology, biochemistry and physiology of chicken blood during the past decade has done much to increase our knowledge of the composition of avian blood, but little attention has been given to the improvement of methods of collecting the blood. Venous blood is easily obtained from the wing vein but there are theoretical and 1 Journal paper no. 182, Purdue University Agricultural Experiment Station.

practical disadvantages to blood from this source for certain types of study. Sloan and Wilgus (1930) described a technique for heart probe in the chicken which has been widely and successfully used. The method which is to be presented in this report is essentially an improvement of the Sloan, Wilgus technic. Sloan and Wilgus recommended that in mature birds a sharp 1^ to 2 inch 20 gauge needle be attached to a syringe and the needle then be inserted into the body

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Males and females Males Females Females in production Females not producing

High carotenoid ration