Dietary Calcium and Non-phytin Phosphorus Interaction on Growth, Bone Mineralization and Mineral Retention in Broiler Starter Chicks

  • Rao, S.V. Rama (Project Directorate on Poultry) ;
  • Raju, M.V.L.N. (Project Directorate on Poultry) ;
  • Reddy, M.R. (Project Directorate on Poultry) ;
  • Pavani, P. (Project Directorate on Poultry) ;
  • Sunder, G. Shyam (Project Directorate on Poultry) ;
  • Sharma, R.P. (Project Directorate on Poultry)
  • Received : 2002.03.27
  • Accepted : 2002.06.20
  • Published : 2003.05.01


An experiment was conducted to study the requirement of calcium (Ca) and non-phytin phosphorus (NPP) in commercial broilers during starter phase. Seven hundred and twenty day-old Vencob male broiler chicks were randomly distributed into 144 stainless steel battery brooders, 5 birds in each. Four levels each of Ca (6, 7, 8, and 9 g/kg) and NPP (3, 3.5, 4, and 4.5 g/kg diet) were fed in a factorial design in a corn-soya basal diet. Levels of dicalcium phosphate and oyster shell grit were adjusted to obtain the desired levels of Ca and NPP. Each diet was fed ad libidum to chicks in 9 battery brooders from one d to 21 d of age. Body weight gain and feed intake were depressed (p<0.01) by increasing the dietary Ca level (8 and 9 g/kg) at lower levels of NPP (3 and 3.5 g/kg diet). The growth depression observed at lower NPP level was alleviated by reducing the Ca content to 6 g/kg diet. The tibia ash content and tibia breaking strength increased with increase in both Ca (>6 g/kg) and NPP (>3 g/kg) levels. The leg abnormality score decreased (p<0.01) with increase in NPP content in the diet at all levels of Ca tested. The serum Ca and inorganic P levels were increased with increase in the level of the respective mineral in the diet, but the serum concentration of Ca and P were inversely related to the level of NPP and Ca, respectively /kg diet. In general, the excretion of macro minerals (Ca, and P), and micro minerals {zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), and copper (Cu)} was significantly lower at lower levels of Ca and NPP tested (6 and 3 g/kg diet, respectively). The mineral excretion increased with increase in dietary Ca and NPP levels, more conspicuously at the disproportionate ratio of these minerals (>2:1, Ca and NPP). Similarly, the retention of Zn, Mn, and Fe in liver was significantly higher (p<0.01) at lower levels of Ca and NPP tested. Results from this study indicate that the commercial broilers do not require more than 3 g NPP and 6g Ca/kg diet during starter phase (up to 21 d of age) for optimum weight gain, feed efficiency and utilization of Ca, P, Zn, Mn, Fe and Cu. However, the requirements of these minerals for optimum bone mineralization were higher than the levels suggested above.


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