A 67-day feeding experiment was conducted to study the effects of inclusion of 5%, 7.5% or 10% leaf meal of Calliandra calothyrsus (calliandra) in the diets of laying hens on feed intake, egg production, egg weights, yolk colour and the birds' weights. While no significant effects were seen on either egg numbers or egg size, feed intake increased and the efficiency of feed utilization decreased with increasing inclusion of the foliage. Absolute initial and final body weights did not show significant treatment differences but live weight changes over the course of the experiments were statistically significant, weight gains decreasing with increasing calliandra levels. The strength of colour of the yolks increased within 3 days of offering the calliandra, irrespective of the level of inclusion. The persistence of the colour change after withdrawal of the leaf meal ranged from 3 days at the 5% inclusion to over 10 days at the 10% level. While it may be possible to include calliandra leaf meal in poultry rations along with other, local, low-cost components, there would appear to be little advantage in using it in conjunction with commercial layers meal at levels higher than those necessary to provide the desired pigmentation level in the yolks (5% or less).
Paterson, R.T.; Roothaert, R.L.; Kiruiro, E. The feeding of leaf meal of Calliandra calothysus to laying hens. Tropical Animal Health and Production (2000) 32 (1) 51-61. [DOI: 10.1023/A:1005293019581]