Effect of Measured Energy Restriction and Age Intervals on Growth, Nutrient Digestibility, Carcass Parameters, Bone Characteristics and Stress in Broiler Breeders during the Rearing Period

  • Sunder, G. Shyam (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Kumar, Ch. Vijaya (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Panda, A.K. (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Gopinath, N.C.S. (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Raju, M.V.L.N. (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Rao, S.V. Rama (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar) ;
  • Reddy, M.R. (Project Directorate on Poultry, Rajendranagar)
  • Received : 2007.09.25
  • Accepted : 2008.01.03
  • Published : 2008.07.01


This study aimed at targeting fixed increases in body weight (100 g/wk) by quantitatively regulating energy allowances (ME) in broiler breeders from 5 to 20 wks of age. Four energy regimes were tested: 1. The energy required for maintenance, activity and growth was calculated for 100 g increases in body weight/wk and a measured quantity of grower diet (160 g protein and 2,600 kcal ME/kg) was offered to the control group (ME-100) to achieve the anticipated weight gain. The energy allowances increased with age from 132 to 294 kcal/d. 2. Additionally, three energy regimes were considered, quantitatively reducing ME by 10% (ME-90) or 20% (ME-80) and increasing by10% (ME-110) over the control group. Each test group had 23 replicates5 female chicks housed in cages. The influence of energy regimes and age on growth, nutrient digestibility, carcass attributes, bone parameters and stress was evaluated at 4 wk intervals. Quantitative ME restriction by 10% (119-265 kcal/d) produced an average weight gain of 98.1 g/wk, which was closer to the targeted increase of 100 g/wk, whereas the control group attained it nine days earlier. Restriction of energy by 10 or 20% produced better conversion efficiency of feed, energy and protein and apparent digestibility of protein, Ca and P than 10% excess ME. Energy regimes did not influence eviscerated meat yield, but higher energy allowances (ME-110) significantly increased abdominal fat pad and liver weights and decreased giblet weight, percent muscle protein and tibia ash. Relatively higher stress was recorded in ME-restricted groups, as reflected by wider heterophil and lymphocyte ratios and increased bursa weight. Early age (5-12 wk) significantly influenced bone mineralization, conversion efficiency of feed, energy and protein and apparent digestibility of protein, Ca and P, while later ages (13-20 wk) increased eviscerated meat yield, abdominal fat, tibia weight and muscle protein and reduced stress. Energy regime x age interactions were significant and are discussed. In conclusion, the synthetic broiler line used in our study responded positively to controlled energy feeding during the rearing period. Breeders offered 119-265 kcal/d, a reduction of 10% energy over the control group, were more effective in regulating grower performance than the latter. In addition to energy regimes, age intervals also exhibited significant influence on specific parameters during the grower phase.


Age;Energy Restriction;Broiler Growers;Performance


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