Skip to main content Accessibility help

Zinc-induced moulting: production and physiology

  • R.U. KHAN (a1), Z. NIKOUSEFAT (a2), M. JAVDANI (a2), V. TUFARELLI (a3) and V. LAUDADIO (a3)...


Moulting is a complex process, induced by diet manipulation, which results in renewal of reproductive system and subsequent better production. Conventionally, moulting has been practised by utilising feed withdrawal in many developing countries, however, this has been associated with many drawbacks. Alternative types of moulting practices have been studied, however, these are not practised widely due to a range of undesirable effects. As a consequence of the beneficial effects on laying hens, better post-moult performance and a less criticised method according to poultry welfare advocates, Zn-induced moulting has been considered superior to forced-moulting. Different aspects of Zn-induced moulting related to physiology and production, with special reference to immunohistochemistry of pituitary gland as affected by Zn-induce moulting are included in this review.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author:


Hide All
ABDULLAH, M. (2007) Immunohistochemistry of pituitary gland and immunological profiles of moulted chicken. Ph.D thesis. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
BAKER, M., BRAKE, J. and KRISTA, L.M. (1981a) Total body lipid and uterine lipid changes during a forced moult of caged layers. Poultry Science 60: 1593 (Abstr.).
BAKER, M., BRAKE, J. and MCDANIEL, G.R. (1981b) The relationship between body weight loss during a forced moult and post moult reproductive performance of caged layers. Poultry Science 60: 1595 (Abstr.).
BELL, D.D. (2003) Historical and current moulting practices in the U.S. Table egg industry. Poultry Science 82: 965-970.
BERRY, W.D. (2003) The physiology of induced moulting. Poultry Science 82: 971-980.
BERRY, W.D. and BRAKE, J. (1987) Post moult performance of laying hens moulted by high dietary zinc low dietary sodium and fasting egg production and eggshell quality. Poultry Science 66: 218-226.
BREEDING, S.W., BERRY, W.D. and BRAKE, J. (1992) Maintenance of duodenum weight during a moult induced by dietary zinc in a low-calcium diet. Poultry Science 71: 1408-1411.
BURNS, R.M. (1983) Antibody production suppressed in the domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus) by zinc deficiency. Avian Pathology 12: 141-146.
CREGER, C.R. and SCOTT, J.T. (1977) Dietary zinc as an effective resting agent for the laying hen. Poultry Science 56: 1706 (Abstr.).
GLEN, K.A. (2001) Cellular zinc sensors: MTF-1 regulation of gene expression. BioMetals 14: 223-237.
HASSAN, M.S.H. (2003) Some productive and physiological responses for using dietary zinc oxide on laying hens. Egyptian Poultry Science 23: 299-312.
HEBERT, J.A. and CERNIGLIA, C.J. (1979) Comparison of low sodium chloride, high zinc oxide, and high potassium iodide for force pausing layers. Poultry Science 58: 1015 (Abstr.).
HOLT, P.S., MACRI, N.P. and PORTER, R.E. JR (1995) Microbiological analysis of the early Salmonella enteritidis infection in moulted and unmoulted hens. Avian Diseases 39: 55-63.
HOLT, P.S. (2003) Moulting and Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis infection: the problem and some solutions. Poultry Science 82: 1008-1010.
HOLT, P.S. and PORTER, R.E. JR (1992) Effect of induced moulting on the course of infection and transmission of Salmonella enteritidis in white Leghorn hens of different ages. Poultry Science 71: 1842-1848.
INNOCENTI, A., ZIMMERMAN, S., FERRY, J.G., SCOZZAFAVA, A. and SUPURAN, C.T. (2004) Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors: Inhibition of the zinc and cobalt gamma-class enzyme from the archaeon Methanosarcina thermophila with anions. Bioorganic & Medical Chemistry Letter 14: 3327-3331.
JOHNSON, M.A. and GREGER, J.L. (1984) Absorption, distribution and endogenous excretion of zinc by rats fed various dietary levels of inorganic tin and zinc. Journal of Nutrition 114: 1843-1852.
KARIMI, S., KHAJALI, F. and RAHMANI, H.R. (2009) Chemical and non-chemical moulting methods as alternative to continuous feed withdrawal in laying hens. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 11: 423-429
KAYA, S., UMUCALILAR, H.D., HALILOGLU, S. and IPEK, H. (2001) Effect of dietary vitamin A and zinc on egg yield and some blood parameters of laying hens. Turkish Journal of Animal Science 25: 763-769.
KHAN, R.U. (2010) Applications of probiotics in poultry production. World's Poultry Science Journal Submitted.
KIDD, M.T., QURESHI, M.A., FERKET, P.R. and THOMAS, L.N. (1994) Dietary zinc-methionine enhances mononuclear–phagocytic function in young turkeys. Biological Trace Element Research 42: 217-229.
KLECKER, D., ZEMAN, L., JELINEK, P. and BUNESOVA, A. (2002) Effect of manganese and zinc chelates on the quality of eggs. Acta Universitatis Agriculture et Silviculturae Mendelianae 50: 59-68.
LUCK, M.R. and SCANES, C.G. (1980) Ionic and endocrine factors influencing the secretion of luteinizing hormone by chicken anterior pituitary cells in vitro. General and Comparative Endocrinology 41: 260-265.
MARTIN, G.A., MORRIS, T.B., GEHLE, M.H. and HARWOOD, D.G. (1973) Force- moulting by limiting calcium intake. Poultry Science 52: 2058 (Abstr.).
MCCORMICK, C.C. and CUNNINGHAM, D.L. (1983) Inducing moult with dietary zinc oxide. Proceedings Cornell Nutrition Conference, Syracuse, NY, pp. 69-74.
MOORE, R.W., PARK, S.Y., KUBENA, L.F., BYRD, J.A., MCREYNOLDS, J.L., BURNHAM, M.R., HUME, M.E., BIRKHOLD, S.G., NISBET, D.J. and RICKE, S.C. (2004) Comparison of zinc acetate and propionate addition on gastrointestinal tract fermentation and susceptibility of laying hens to Salmonella enteritidis during forced moult. Poultry Science 83: 1276-1286.
ONBASILAR, E.E. and EROL, H. (2007) Effects of different forced moulting methods on post moult production, corticosterone level, and immune response to sheep red blood cells in laying hens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 16: 529-536.
PALAFOX, A.L. and HO-A, E. (1980) Effect of zinc toxicity in laying white leghorn pullets and hens. Poultry Science 59: 2024-2048.
PALMER, S.S. and BAHR, J.M. (1992) Follicle stimulating hormone increases serum oestradiol-17β concentrations, number of growing follicles and yolk deposition in aging hens (Gallus domesticus) with decreased egg production. British Poultry Science 33: 403-414.
PARK, S.Y., BIRKHOLD, S.G., KUBENA, L.F., NISBET, D.J. and RICKE, S.C. (2004a) Review on the Role of Dietary Zinc in Poultry Nutrition, Immunity, and Reproduction. Biology of Trace Elements 101: 147-163.
PARK, S.Y., BIRKHOLD, S.G., KUBENA, L.F., NISBET, D.J. and RICKE, S.C. (2004b) Effect of high zinc diet using zinc propionate on moult induction, organs and post-moult egg production and quality in laying hens. Poultry Science 83: 24-33.
PEEBLES, E.D. and BRAKE, J. (1987) Egg shell quality and hatchability in broiler breeder eggs. Poultry Science 66: 596-604.
RAMESH, R., SOLOW, R., PRODUMAN, J.A. and KUENZEL, W.J. (1996) Changes in pituitary somatotroph and lactotroph distribution in laying hens and incubating turkey hen pituitary. General and Comparative Endocrinology 104: 67-75.
ROLAND, D.A. and BRAKE, J. (1982) Influence of pre moult production on post moult performance with explanation for improvement in egg production due to force moulting. Poultry Science 51: 2473-2481.
SAHIN, K., SAHIN, N., KUCUK, O., HAYIRLI, A. and PRASAD, A.S. (2009) Role of dietary zinc in heat-stressed poultry: A review. Poultry Science 88: 2176-2183.
SANDHU, M.A., RAHMAN, Z.U. and RAHMAN, S.U. (2006) Dynamics of macrophages 459 during second and third production cycles after zinc induced moulting. Journal of Poultry Science 43: 286-295.
SANDHU, M.A. RAHMAN, Z.U., , RAHMAN, S.U. and HASSAN, I.J. (2007) Dynamics of innate immune response in Gallus domesticus using two methods of induced moulting. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 120: 106-114.
SANDHU, M.A., RAHMAN, Z.U., HASAN, I.J., RAHMAN, S.U. and YOUSAF, M.S. (2008) Changes in lutenizing hormone-containing gonadotrophs after moulting induced by fasting and zinc in laying hens (Gallus domesticus). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 92: 668-676
SANDHU, M.A., RAHMAN, Z.U., RIAZ, A., RAHMAN, S.U., JAVED, I. and ULLAH, N. (2010) Somatotrophs and lactotrophs: an immunohistochemical study of Gallus domesticus pituitary gland at different stages of induced moult. European Journal of Histochemistry 54: 123-127.
SCOTT, J.T. and CREGER, C.R. (1976) The use of zinc as an effective moulting agent in laying hens. Poultry Science 55: 2089 (Abstract).
SHANKAR, A.H. and PRASAD, A.S. (1998) Zinc and immune function: The biological basis of altered resistance to infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68: 447-463.
SHIPPEE, R.L., STAKE, P.E., KOEHN, U., LAMBERT, J.L. and SIMMONS, R.W. (1979) High dietary zinc or magnesium as forced-resting agents for laying hens. Poultry Science 58: 949-954.
STAHL, J.L., GREGER, J.L. and COOK, M.E. (1989) Zinc, copper and iron utilization by chicks fed various concentrations of zinc. British Poultry Science 30: 123-134.
SUNDARESAN, N.R., ANISH, D., SASTRY, K.V.H., SAXENA, V.K., MOHAN, J. and SAXEN, M. (2007) Differential expression of lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-α factor (LITAF) in reproductive tissues during induced moulting of white leghorn hens. Animal Reproduction Science 102: 335-342.
SUNDARESAN, N.R., ANISH, D., SASTRY, K.V.H., SAXENA, V.K., NAGARAJAN, K., SUBRAMANI, J., LEO, M.D.M., SHIT, N., MOHAN, J. and SAXENA, M. (2008) High doses of dietary zinc induce cytokines, chemokines, and apoptosis in reproductive tissues during regression. Cell and Tissue Research 332: 543-554.
TAYLOR, T.G. (1965) Calcium-endocrine relationships in the laying hens. Proceeding of the Nutrition Society 24: 49-54.
THIAGARAJAN, D., SAEED, A.M. and ASEM, E.K. (1994) Mechanism of transovarian transmission of Salmonella enteritidis in laying hens. Poultry Science 73: 89-98.
WAKELING, D.E. (1978) The use of low calcium and low sodium diets to induce an egg production pause in commercial layers. Agric. Dev. Advisory Service Bull. No. 8L-51-8-76. Starcross, Exeter, Devon, UK.
WHITEHEAD, C.C. and SHANNON, D.W.F. (1974) The control of egg production using a sodium-deficient diet. British Poultry Science 15: 429-434.
YOUSAF, M.S., RAHMAN, Z.U., SANDHU, M.A., BUKHARI, S.A. and YOUSAF, A. (2008) Comparison of the fast-induced and high dietary zinc-induced moulting: trace elements dynamic in serum and eggs at different production stages in hens (Gallus domesticus). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 93: 35-43.


Zinc-induced moulting: production and physiology

  • R.U. KHAN (a1), Z. NIKOUSEFAT (a2), M. JAVDANI (a2), V. TUFARELLI (a3) and V. LAUDADIO (a3)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed