Effect of different feed programs on broiler breeder behavior and reproductive performance
Aranibar, Carla Dayana
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Selection for increased growth rate has led to an increase in body weight and appetite in broiler breeders. Feed restriction programs are essential to prevent excessive body weight, poor uniformity, and poor reproductive performance. The high degree of restriction is associated with behaviors indicative of feeding frustration, boredom, and hunger. Qualitative feed restriction is a method to alleviate these behaviors while limiting the growth rate of the birds. Soybean hulls were given as an addition to the feed on OFF feed day as an alternative feed program (ATD). The ATD feed program was compared to a standard skip-a-day program or a skip-a-day program with added fiber (soybean hulls) on the ON day. The results show an improvement in performance with: increase in body weight, improved uniformity, and increased egg production. Changes in the behaviors of the birds on the OFF day show the birds attained a level of satiety with a decrease in foraging and increase activity around the feeder and drinker. The results suggest the ATD feed program can potentially improve broiler breeder production parameters and improve the well being of the birds. The level of feed restriction can also impact feathering of the birds. Changes in energy and protein in the diet can impact reproductive performance, feather cover, and mating behaviors. Changes in energy and protein of 100 kcal/g and 2% CP did not have an impact on the performance or feathering of the birds. The results suggest the changes in the diet balanced each other or were not different enough to have an effect on the birds.