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Livestock Production

 

Broiler nutrition: The road ahead
 
K.R. Gunasekar

 

 

Broiler nutrition should be addressed towards maximising profitability. It is an ongoing process for poultry producers and nutritionists to maximise the opportunity from the ever-increasing genetic potential.

 

Knowledge of nutritional response to several nutrition input variables will assist in determining feed specifications based on broiler requirements.

 

To design a profitable nutritional strategy, the following areas require more attention:

 

1.      Nutritive value of feed ingredients

 

Nutritionists need to shift their focus towards the purchase of feed ingredients and judging their nutritive value.

 

2.      Feed formulation

 

Nutritionists should know the purpose and objectives of feed formulation. Critical areas to be considered should include,

    • Ideal calorie density
       
    • Energy protein / amino acid ratios
       
    • Formulation based on digestible amino acids
       
    • Ideal amino acid profile

    • Calcium status of the feed
       
    • Electrolyte balance of feed
       
    • Immuno - modulation
       
    • Cost saving in the formulation or requirements
       
    • Pelleting benefits

3.      Breeder nutrition-broiler performance

 

The most profitable strategy for breeder nutrition is maximising the breeder productivity as it is cheaper and will influence the offspring performance. Therefore, it is important for nutritionists to resist cost cutting in breeder feed formulations in order to maximise profitability.

 

4.      Early chick nutrition

 

Early nutrition plays a key role in broilers because the first seven days of the broiler life accounts for 20 percent of their total life today. With a continuous reduction in marketing age for broilers, the first seven days is likely to account for 25 percent to 30 percent of the broiler life cycle in the future.

 

Therefore, the time and feed required to produce a 2kg broiler is continuously decreasing. Nutritionists have to maximise growth in that limited period of time and feed, which requires a good starter diet.

 

5.      Nutrition for gut health

 

Management of gut environment has become a crucial part of broiler production since certain feed ingredient molecules may cause gut diseases. Gut health management should attempt to,

    • Inhibit sub-clinical infections
       
    • Reduction of nutrient uptake by microbes
       
    • Growth reduction of depressing microbial metabolites
       
    • Enhanced availability of nutrients to poultry

The article also touches on nutrition for meat quality and food safety issues.

 
 

For more of the article, please click here

 

Article made possible through the contribution of AviTech Animal Health.

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