Effects of twice a day feeding and split feeding during lay on broiler breeder production performance, eggshell quality, incubation traits, and behavior

R.A. van Emous*, A.J.W. Mens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Eggshell quality of broiler breeders’ eggs decreases at the end of the laying period. Feeding a limited daily allowance of feed in the morning does not supply the necessary nutrients, particularly calcium for eggshell formation, at the right time of the day. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to study the effects of providing a standard diet twice a day or split feeding (special morning and afternoon diet) in broiler breeders on production performance, eggshell quality, incubation traits, and behavior. At 50 wk of age (WOA) 576 females and 48 males were randomly allotted to 24 floor pens and assigned to one of three treatments: 1) Standard breeder diet fed once a day (100% at 0730 h) (CON1x), 2) Standard breeder diet fed twice a day (50% at 0730 h and 50% at 1400 h) (CON2x), and 3) Split feeding fed twice a day, with a special morning (0730 h) and afternoon (1400 h) diet composition (SP2x). The morning diet was energetically comparable with the control diet, but it contained more protein and phosphorus (P) and less calcium (Ca). The afternoon diet had a lower energy, protein and P and a higher Ca content than the control and morning diet. The SP2x birds tended to have a higher egg production between 51 and 55 WOA (27.0 vs. 25.9 eggs; P = 0.088) compared to the CON1x birds, while the CON2x birds (26.6 eggs) did not differ from the other treatments. No differences were found on egg production for the total period (51–60 WOA) and on other production parameters. The different feeding strategies did not affect eggshell quality and incubation traits. However, the feeding strategies affected the behavioral patterns considerably. Twice a day feeding (CON2x and SP2x) resulted in more time spent on eating and sitting, and in less time spent on foraging and object pecking (P ≤ 0.05) compared to feeding once a day (CON1x). In conclusion, twice a day feeding improves behavior and split feeding improves both egg production and behavior in broiler breeders, however, no effects were observed on eggshell quality and incubation traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101419
JournalPoultry Science
Volume100
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • behavior
  • broiler breeders
  • eggshell quality
  • split feeding
  • twice a day feeding

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