The egg-yolk pigmentation properties of Marigold Flower (MF), Safflower Petals (SP), Red Pepper Meal (RPM) and Commercial Pigment (CP) were evaluated when used at different levels with a practical basal laying hens diet. A total of 240 laying hens were randomly divided into 48 groups, 5 birds per group cage. One of 12 experimental diets was fed to four cages (four replicates per each treatment). The experimental period lasted four weeks and during this period the birds had free access to feed and water. Test diets were produced by adding various levels of additives to basal diet. The egg production was recorded daily and egg-yolk color was examined using the Roche Color Fan (RYCF). Twelve yolks per diet were evaluated every three days during the experimental period. The results showed that, egg and yolk weight, daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio and egg production were not affected significantly by the dietary treatments. The egg-yolk color changed significantly (p<0.01) due to added pigments. The yolk color was improved within 10-13 days after feeding diets. The highest color pigmentation was obtained with the diet contained 3% RPM (12.55) whereas, the lowest color pigmentation obtained with the basal diet (5.54). MF was significantly (p<0.01) more effective in producing higher RYCF values than SP at all levels. Increasing the level of RPM, resulted in an increase reddish color pigmentation of yolk. The addition of 0.5% RPM and 0.6% CP resulted in optimum color pigmentation (9.67 and 9.57, respectively). The results indicated that RPM can be used as a potential natural color pigment in the diet of laying hens instead of CP and additionally the use of the level of RPM depends on the yolk color desired by the specific market.
E. Rowghani, A. Maddahian and M. Arab Abousadi , 2006. Effects of Addition of Marigold Flower, Safflower Petals, Red Pepper on Egg-yolk Color and Egg Production in Laying Hens. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9: 1333-1337.