Maintaining broiler breeder pullets on skip-a-day feeding after photostimulation until 5% egg production is reached alters ovarian development
Wiggle, Stephanie Michelle
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The reproductive benefits of feed restricting broiler breeder hens are well established, but the current research indicates that continuing a skip-a-day feed restriction program beyond photostimulation until 5% egg production is reached is detrimental to egg production compared to initiating an everyday restricted feeding program at photostimulation. The mechanisms by which skip-a-day feeding during this critical period of ovarian development permanently decrease reproductive capability are unclear, but the current research indicates that it does not appear to be related to an abnormal onset or lack of estrogen production. Ovarian development in the skip-a-day hens is delayed and is characterized by the development of ovarian cysts. Plasma concentrations of free triiodothyronine (T3) are significantly altered in skip-a-day pullets. Thus, the abnormal ovarian and follicular development my be due to metabolic changes in the skip-a-day hens during their fasting periods which indicate that nutrient intake is not enough to support reproduction.