This study was conducted to investigate the effects of garlic powder on the performance, egg traits and blood parameters of laying hens. One hundred and sixty-two SHSY-type brown layers aged 21 weeks were chosen at random from a large flock. They were allocated to three dietary treatments. Each treatment comprised six replicates of nine layers in groups of three. The diets were supplemented with 0, 5 and 10 g kg-1 garlic powder. The experimental period lasted 22 weeks. Garlic powder addition did not significantly affect body weight, egg production, feed consumption, feed efficiency, egg shell index, egg breaking strength, egg shell thickness, egg albumen index, egg yolk index, egg Haugh unit, egg yolk weight and serum protein concentration. Egg weight increased (P < 0.01) with garlic powder supplementation. There was a significant (P < 0.01) reduction in egg cholesterol concentration as mg g-1 yolk when the dietary level of garlic powder was increased from 0 to 10 g kg-1. Hen serum triglyceride (P < 0.05) and total cholesterol (P < 0.01) concentrations decreased with garlic powder supplementation. This study demonstrated that garlic powder addition increased egg weight and decreased egg yolk cholesterol concentration (mg g-1 yolk) and serum triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations without adverse effects on performance and egg traits. © 2006 Society of Chemical Industry.