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Sodium zeolite A (SZA), a synthetic sodium aluminosilicate having high ion-exchange capacity, has been shown to increase eggshell specific gravity in laying hens and to improve Ca utilization in chickens. A 4 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was used to investigate the effect of dietary Ca (.6, .8, 1.0, and 1.2%) and SZA (0 and .75%) on growth, plasma, and tibia characteristics of chicks from 5 to 15 days of age. Increasing dietary Ca linearly increased (P less than .05) Ca and alkaline phosphatase (AP) in plasma and increased tibia shearing force and percentage ash, Ca, and P in tibiae. However, dietary Ca linearly decreased (P less than .05) inorganic P and Mg in plasma and Mg and Mn in tibiae. Sodium zeolite A decreased (P less than .05) plasma P and AP and tibia Mg but increased (P less than .05) tibia Ca, Zn, Al, and Mn concentrations. Tibia ash and shearing force were increased in chicks fed SZA receiving inadequate dietary Ca, but they were decreased in chicks fed SZA and excess Ca (Ca by SZA interaction, P less than .05). Tibia density showed a similar trend, but the effect was not significant (Ca by SZA interaction, P less than .12). The addition of SZA enhanced tibia ash, density, and shearing force when dietary Ca was low; however, when added to diets containing 1.2% Ca, SZA reduced many bone mineralization indices with the exception of tibia Ca.

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Poultry science

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