The leaves of the plant Solanum malacoxylon contain 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, the active form of vitamin D. The effect on egg-shell thickness of supplementing the diet of laying hens with a dry powdered preparation of the leaves (DLSM) has been studied. A significnat increase in shell thickness was evident for eggs laid on the second and subsequent days of the DLSM-regimen but nor for those laid during the first 24 hours. It is suggested that the provision of high doses of the vitamin D metabolite in the form of a DLSM supplement may restore calcium binding protein levels in birds approaching the end of the first laying year and hence improve dietary calcium absorption and consequently egg-shell quality.
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