Effects of Hot Environment and Dietary Protein Level on Growth Performance and Meat Quality of Broiler Chickens

  • Gu, X.H. (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Li, S.S. (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Lin, H. (Department of Animal Science, Shandong Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2007.07.17
  • Accepted : 2008.03.04
  • Published : 2008.11.01


This study was conducted to determine the effect of hot environment and dietary crude protein level (CP) on performance, carcass characteristics, meat visual quality, muscle chemical composition and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration of tissues in broilers. Two hundred and sixteen 21-d old Arbor Acre broilers were used in a $4\times3$ factorial arrangement and randomly reared in 4 environmental chambers and fed on 3 diets with different CP levels for 3 weeks. The results showed: (1) when air temperature (AT) rose to $33^{\circ}C$, average daily feed intake, average daily gain, carcass weight, right breast meat weight, left thigh and drumstick meat weight decreased (p<0.05) and feed conversion rate decreased (p<0.05), but the ratio of carcass to live weight and of left thigh and drumstick meat weight to carcass weight increased (p<0.05). (2) There were significant differences in pH and shear force in breast meat, and shear force, L* and a* in thigh meat (p<0.01 or 0.05) among hot environments. Dietary CP level tended to affect breast meat pH and pH and L* of thigh meat (p<0.06 or 0.09). Compared to the normal temperature ($22^{\circ}C$), low temperature ($15^{\circ}C$) and hot humid (AT $33^{\circ}C$, relative humidity (RH) 80%) treatments significantly (p<0.05) decreased the tenderness of thigh meat. L* and a* value in thigh meat under high temperature treatments, regardless of RH, were higher (p<0.05) than those under normal temperature. (3) Protein content in breast and thigh meat of broilers fed under high temperature ($33^{\circ}C$) was lower (p<0.05) than that under $22^{\circ}C$, but fat content had an adverse change. High temperature ($33^{\circ}C$) increased the moisture of breast meat significantly (p<0.05). Protein content in breast meat increased significantly (p<0.05), in which fat content had an adverse change (p<0.05), when the dietary protein rose. (4) MDA concentration in liver and breast meat under hot humid (AT $33^{\circ}C$, RH 80%) treatment increased markedly (p<0.05). (5) High humidity could sharpen the bad effect of high temperature on performance, carcass yield and choice cuts, crude protein and moisture content in breast meat. It was concluded that a hot environment could affect the performance and meat quality of broiler chicks more significantly than CP level and that high humidity would aggravate the bad influence of high temperature on the broiler.


Hot Environment;Dietary Protein Level;Performance;Meat Quality;Broiler


Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China


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