Effects of reducing growth rate via diet dilution on bone mineralization, performance and carcass yield of coccidia-infected broilers

Oikeh, I and Sakkas, P and Taylor, J and Giannenas, I and Blake, D P and Kyriazakis, I (2019) Effects of reducing growth rate via diet dilution on bone mineralization, performance and carcass yield of coccidia-infected broilers. POULTRY SCIENCE, 98 (11). pp. 5477-5487.

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Coccidiosis and rapid growth rate (GR) compromise bone mineralization in modern broilers. We tested the hypothesis that reducing GR via diet dilution during peak bone development will improve bone mineralization in both infected and uninfected broilers. A total of 384 male Ross 308 chicks were allocated to a basal grower diet (3,107kcal/kg ME and 19.4% CP) diluted with 0, 5, 10, or 15% lignocellulose (n = 12 pens/treatment, 8 birds/pen) at day 10 of age. Prior to this, birds in each group received half the intended diet-dilution levels (day 8 to 10 of age) and a common starter diet (day 1 to 7 of age). At day 13 of age (day 0 post-infection, pi), birds were orally inoculated with either 7,000 sporulated Eimeria maxima oocysts (I) or water (C), forming a 4 diet-dilution level × 2 infection status factorial experiment. Performance was measured over 12 days pi and scaled to BW at infection (day 0 pi) to account for a priori BW differences. At day 12 pi (day 25 of age), 1 bird/pen (a total of 6 birds/treatment) was sampled to assess tibia and femur mineralization relative to BW, and carcass yield. There was no interaction (P > 0.05) between infection status and diet-dilution level on ADFI/BW measured over day 1 to 12 pi, or on any bone variable. ADG/BW pi decreased (P < 0.01) with diet dilution amongst C birds, but was statistically similar (P > 0.05) amongst I birds. I compared to C birds had reduced breast meat (P < 0.05) and eviscerated carcass yield (P < 0.01), femur (P < 0.05) and tibia (P < 0.01) breaking strength (BS), and femur ash weight (AW) (P < 0.05). Diet dilution did not affect carcass yield, but improved femur BS (P < 0.001), and tended to improve (P < 0.1) femur and tibia AW. Overall, diet dilution significantly affected femur, more than tibia, variables: relative BS, robusticity index, and ash percentage. Reducing GR affected broiler long bone mineralization to a similar degree in the presence or absence of coccidiosis.

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