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Two experiments were conducted with chicks from 5 to 15 days posthatching to study the effect of sodium zeolite A (SZA) on Zn utilization. The corn-soybean meal basal diet was supplemented with ZnCO3 to provide three levels of dietary Zn (35, 40, and 85 ppm) in Experiment 1, and two levels of dietary Zn (85 and 4,000 ppm) in Experiment 2. Experimental diets also contained either 0 or .75% SZA, resulting in a 3 x 2 and a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. The tendency for increased growth, feed intake, and hematocrit in chicks fed Zn-supplemented diets in Experiment 1 suggests that the 35-ppm level of Zn in the basal diet was marginal for chicks. Both supplemental Zn and SZA increased (P < .02) hematocrit and plasma, pancreas, and tibia Zn and decreased (P < .02) tibia Cu. Sodium zeolite A increased (SZA by Zn, P < .03) tibia Al and tended to increase (SZA by Zn, P < .09) liver Fe in chicks fed either 35 or 85 ppm Zn, but SZA had no effect on tibia Al and liver Fe in chicks fed 40 ppm Zn. In Experiment 2, both SZA and excess dietary Zn decreased gain, feed intake, gain: feed, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity, and increased tibia, liver, and pancreas Zn, and tibia Al. In addition, excess Zn increased (P < .05) plasma Zn and liver Al but decreased (P < .01) plasma, liver, and pancreas Cu and percentage of tibia ash. The addition of SZA enhanced the adverse effects of excess Zn by further decreasing feed intake, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma AP and Cu and by increasing tibia Al and liver Zn. Sodium zeolite A increased pancreas (P < .09) and tibia (P < .03) Zn regardless of dietary Zn concentration; however, SZA increased plasma Zn only in chicks fed 85 ppm Zn (SZA by Zn, P < .03). Sodium zeolite A tended to improve Zn utilization in chicks fed inadequate Zn but exacerbated the adverse effects of feeding excess Zn. The addition of SZA to the diet of chicks fed inadequate, adequate, or toxic levels of Zn resulted in increased tissue Zn concentration.

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Poultry science

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