Effect of Meal Time Feeding and Protein Restriction on Body Weight and Gait Score in Broilers


In: XXII World Poultry Congress, Turkey, 1 - 04 May 2004, pp.239

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.239
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: No


Leg problems have been widely discussed in numerous research reports. Increasing activity via environmental management or decreasing growth by lowering dietary protein level may improve gait score. This experiment was designed to study the effects of meal time feeding and protein restriction on body weight and gait score in broilers. A total of 420 day-old chicks were wing banded at hatch and randomly distributed into 21 pens with 20 chicks each. At 7 days of age chicks were weighed and assigned at random to one of the 3 treatments: 1. Control: feed was available for ad libitum feeding 2). Meal time feeding: feed was available from 1 to 9 am and from 3 to 11pm. Food was withdrawn from 9 am to 3 pm and wheat (10 g/bird/day) was dispersed on the floor. 3). Low protein diet: a diet with 19.5 % protein was fed to the chicks from 7 to 21 days. The chicks were fed ad libitum from 1 to 7 days of age and from 21 to 45d of age with a standard commercial diet. There were seven replicate pens (140 birds) per treatment. Light was off from 11 pm to 1 am during the experiment. Body weight was measured individually at 21 and 45 days of age. Cumulative food consumption was measured on the pen basis and feed conversion was calculated. Each broiler classified into 4 categories at 45d of age; 0: the bird walked normally; 1: the bird able to walk but had an obvious gait defect, 2: the bird walked only when driven 3: the bird did not walk. There were no body weight differences at 7 days of age among groups. Birds fed ad libitum had significantly heavier body weight at 21 and 45 days of age than for those in the other group, which did not differ. Body weight gain from 7 to 21 and 21 to 45 days followed the same pattern. No interaction was observed between treatment and sex for body weight. The results suggested that compensatory growth at 45d of age did not observed either for meal time fed broilers or low protein fed broilers from 7 to 21 days. Feed intake was reduced by meal time feeding and better feed conversion was achieved compare with other groups. The feeding programs used in this experiment did not improve the gait score of broilers. Key words: broiler, meal time feeding, protein restriction, performance, gait score