Effects of Maternal Dietary Fats and Antioxidants on Growth Rate and Bone Development of Commercial Broilers


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Virginia Tech


The effect of maternal dietary fats on growth rate and bone development of commercial broilers was examined. Three hundred fifty female chicks were winged banded, weighed and equally divided among six starter pens (1.52 X 3.66m) with litter floors. At 20 wk of age, each pen was fed a basal laying diet supplemented with either 3% chicken fat (CF), soybean oil (SBO) or menhaden oil (MO). Each diet was provided with or without the antioxidant ethoxyquin, producing a total of six dietary treatments. Addition of fats [soybean (SBO), menhaden oil (MO), chicken fat (CF), soybean + antioxidant (SA), menhaden + antioxidant (MA), and chicken + antioxidant (CA)] to the maternal diet altered the tissue and yolk composition of hens to reflect the dietary source. Response variables measured were body weight, tibia weight and length, and breaking strength (stress, force, energy, bone wall, and diameter). Chick tissue from hens fed a MO and MA diet exhibited greater (P<0.01) amounts of DPA (22:5n3), DHA (22:6n3) and total n-3 fatty acids than the remaining dietary treatments. Tissues from chicks fed a SBO and SA diet displayed larger levels of 18:2n6 and total n-6 fatty acids when compared to all other treatments. Male and female chicks from the menhaden type diets (MO and MA) were lighter (P<0.01) during grow out period than from soybean (SBO and SA) and chicken (CF and CA) type diets. Chicks tibiae diameter from CF maternal diet tended to be larger than the MO maternal diet, with significance being noted at d 14 (P<0.01) and 28 (P<0.01). Increases were observed in shear force and stress required to break chick tibia from SBO maternal diet compared to those from the CF and MO maternal diets. The SBO maternal diet stimulates growth rate and bone development and strength of the progeny. (Key words: chickens, bone development, breaking strength, growth rate, fatty acids)



chickens, bone development, breaking strength, fatty acids, growth rate