Dietary amino acid levels and feed restriction affect small intestinal development, mortality, and weight gain of maile broilers

P.J.A. Wijtten, E. Hangoor, J.K.W.M. Sparla, M.W.A. Verstegen

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the effect of 2 different dietary amino acid treatments and feed restriction in early life versus a control treatment on development of the small intestine segments (weights), mortality, and broiler performance. Each treatment was applied to 6 cages with Ross 308 male broilers and to 6 cages with Cobb 500 male broilers with 24 birds per cage. A control treatment (100% ideal protein) was compared with a treatment with 30% extra ideal protein, a treatment with daily adjustment of the dietary amino acid level and profile, and a feed restriction treatment. The protein treatments were applied from 0 to 14 d of age. The feed restriction was applied from 4 to 21 d of age. Restriction was 15% from d 4 to 14 of age and diminished with equal daily steps thereafter to 5% at 21 d of age. Birds were weighed and dissected for evaluation of small intestine weights at 6, 9, 14, and 36 d of age. Feed intake restriction reduced leg problems in Ross and Cobb broilers. Extra dietary protein reduced leg problems in Ross broilers only. The present experiment does not show that small intestinal weight development is related to mortality. Thirty percent extra dietary ideal protein increased duodenum weight between 6 and 9 d of age. This was not further increased by the daily optimization of the dietary amino acid level and profile. The increased duodenum weights coincided with an improved BW gain. This indicates that duodenum weight may be important in facilitating BW gain in young broilers. Thus, it may be worthwhile to pay more attention to the relation between nutrition and duodenum weight and duodenum function in further studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1424-1439
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • adult rooster
  • young chicks
  • ascites syndrome
  • gastrointestinal-tract
  • lysine requirement
  • digestive-tract
  • crude protein
  • heat-stress
  • maintenance
  • growth

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