An experiment was carried out to examine thoroughly the relationships among different n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the diet, their deposition into the eggs' fat, and their effect on hens' laying performance. A diet enriched with 4% fish oil (FO) was fed to the birds throughout the 14-wk laying period (Treatment 1; T1); this was the same oil source that was replaced in proportions of 25, 50, 75, or 100% with four different fat sources, resulting in 17 isocaloric dietary treatments: linseed oil (LO; T2 to T5), rapeseed oil (RO; T6 to T9), sunflower oil (SO; T10 to T13), and tallow (T; T14 to T17). Performance parameters were recorded weekly and analyzed on the basis of the replacing fat source. At the end of the 14-wk experimental period, eggs were collected, and their fatty acid (FA) profile was determined. Performance parameters were not significantly different among grouped treatments. Smaller proportions of FO in diets resulted in lower values of saturated and higher values of n-6 FA contents, regardless of the fat source used when replacing FO. The n-6 content increased mostly because of the rise in linoleic acid (LA), although the level of arachidonic acid (AA) was always higher when FO was completely suppressed. The amount of the different n-3 long-chain PUFA was lower (P < 0.001) when FO was present in lesser proportions in the diet. However, the slope of the decline of these FA changed according to the included fat. Replacing FO with LO resulted in the lowest decline of its derivatives by elongation and desaturation and an increase in the total n-3 FA in the form of linolenic acid (LNA).
- n-3 fatty acids
- n-6 fatty acids