Effects of growth patterns and dietary protein levels during rearing of broiler breeders on fertility, hatchability, embryonic mortality, and offspring performance

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of different growth patterns and dietary crude protein levels during rearing in broiler breeder females on fertility, hatchability, embryonic mortality, and offspring performance. A 2 × 3 factorial arrangement of treatments was used, with 2 growth patterns to reach a target body weight at 20¿wk of age of 2,200 g (standard = standard growth pattern) or 2,400 g (high = high growth pattern), and 3 dietary protein levels (high = crude protein, high), (medium = crude protein, medium), and low = crude protein, low). Fresh egg composition and organ development in hatchlings were determined. Offspring of the different groups were reared until an age of 34 d and feed intake, body weight gain, mortality, and carcass composition were determined. In 29-wk-old high growth pattern breeders compared to standard growth pattern breeders, fertility and hatchability of set eggs were increased; embryonic mortality between d 1 and 9 was decreased whereas hatchability of fertile eggs was not affected. Breeders fed the medium crude protein diet showed a decreased hatchability of fertile eggs caused by an increased embryonic mortality between d 18 and 21 compared to breeders fed the high crude protein and low crude protein diets. Offspring of 29-wk-old high growth pattern breeders tended (P = 0.059) to have a higher body weight at d 34 than offspring of standard growth pattern breeders, which was achieved by a tendency to a higher body weight gain (P = 0.057). Offspring of breeders fed the medium and low crude protein diet showed a higher feed intake between d 18 and 27 and during the total growth period, as compared to offspring of high crude protein breeders. Male broilers of low crude protein breeders had higher breast meat yield than male broilers of high crude protein breeders, while breast meat yield of female broilers was not affected by dietary protein levels. This experiment showed that a higher growth pattern during the rearing period increased fertility, decreased embryonic mortality, and improved offspring performance in young breeders, whereas decreased dietary protein level had no or less pronounced effects on these traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-691
JournalPoultry Science
Volume94
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • body-weight
  • feed restriction
  • reproductive-performance
  • recommended levels
  • maternal energy
  • sexual-maturity
  • egg-production
  • laying period
  • chick quality
  • frame size

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