The effect of early feed restriction on the performance, organ weights, carcass composition, and lipid and protein metabolism in broiler chickens
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Five experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of early feed restriction on body weights, feed conversion, organ weights, fat deposition, carcass and muscle composition, plasma lipids, lipogenesis, lipolysis, and muscle tissue DNA and RNA in broiler chickens. In Experiments 1 and 2, broiler chicks were reared in litter pens for 49 days, while Experiments 3,4, and 5 were conducted in battery cages for 28 days. Feed restriction in all experiments was induced by providing male broiler chicks with 40 kcal/bird/day for 7 (Experiments 1 and 2) or 6 (Experiments 3, 4, and 5) days, starting at 4 days of age. Feed restriction (40 kcal/bird/day) for broiler females in Experiment 1 was imposed from 4 to 9 days of age. Ad libitum feeding was resumed after the restriction periods and continued to the conclusion of each experiment. Broilers fed ad libitum for the entire experimental period were used as controls in each study.
Broilers under early feed restriction had significantly (P s .05) lower mean body weights than ad libitum fed controls, for all ages measured. However, feed to gain ratios for restricted birds were Significantly lower at 28 (Experiments 1 through 4) and 49 (Experiments 1 and 2) days of age than for birds fed ad libitum. Total pen body weights for restricted and ad libitum fed groups were similar at 49 days of age in Experiments 1 and 2 which, reflected a significant reduction in the rate of mortality observed in the early restricted groups.
Significantly higher levels of lipogenic activity, plasma triglycerides and lipoproteins (VLDL + LDL), and significantly larger abdominal fat pads were observed in restricted broilers than in ad libitum fed controls at 28 days of age (Experiment 4). No significant differences were found in organ weights, carcass composition, lipolysis, and muscle tissue DNA/RNA levels, and muscle composition between early restricted and unrestricted broilers. Results from these studies indicate that restricted broilers were not able to attain body weights comparable to ad libitum fed birds at 49 days of age. In contrast, early feed restriction resulted in consistently better feed efficiency in restricted birds when compared to controls. Furthermore, it appears that early feed restriction altered lipid metabolism early in life; however, organ weights, fat deposition, muscle composition, and carcass composition were only minimally affected by this procedure.
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