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Effects of meal-time feeding and protein restriction on walking ability and some bone and carcass properties in broilers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2008

Y. Konca*
Ödemis Vocational Training School, Ege University, Turkey
E. Yaylak
Ödemis Vocational Training School, Ege University, Turkey
A. Önenç
Agricultural Faculty, Ege University, Izmir 35750, Turkey
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This experiment was designed to investigate the effects of meal-time feeding and protein restriction on performance, gait score (GS) and carcass and bone traits in broilers. A total of 420 1-day-old chicks were wing banded and randomly distributed into 21 pens with 20 chicks each. At 7 days of age, chicks were weighed and randomly assigned to one of the three treatments: (1) control (C) feed (23.02% crude protein (CP)) was available ad libitum; (2) meal-time feeding (MF); control feed was available from 0100 to 0900 h and from 1500 to 2300 h. Food was withdrawn from 0900 to 1500 h and whole wheat (10 g/bird per day) was dispersed on the floor from 7 to 21 days; and (3) low-protein (LP) diet (19.71% CP) was fed to the chicks from 7 to 21 days. All of the groups were fed ad libitum from 1 to 7 days of age and from 21 to 45 days of age with a standard commercial diet. Individual body weight was measured on days 7, 21 and 45. Feed consumption was measured from 7 to 21 days and from 21 to 45 days. Forty-two chicks were humanly slaughtered and eviscerated for bone evaluation, on days 21 and 45. Also carcass characteristics were determined on day 45. Control group body weight was significantly higher (P < 0.05) at 21 and 45 days of age than the MF and LP groups, which did not differ. Feed intake was reduced by meal-time feeding and LP diet (P < 0.01). Feed efficiency was the best in the MF group during the period of 21 to 45 days of age (P < 0.01). In the control group, shank was significantly longer than that of the LP group and tibia breaking strength was higher than that of the MF group at 21 days (P < 0.05). However, shank width, tibia wet weight and tibia mid-diaphysis ash percentage of the MF group were significantly lower than those of the C and LP groups at 21 days of age (P < 0.05). GS, shank and carcass and tibia bone traits on day 45 were not significant among groups. No compensatory growth and walking ability improvement were observed at 45 days of age for broilers fed with MF and LP between 7 and 21 days of age.

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animal , Volume 2 , Issue 9 , September 2008 , pp. 1324 - 1330
Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2008

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