Effects of Nutritional Manipulation on Poultry under Normal and Stressful Conditions

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Virginia Tech

Genetic selection for improved performance has necessitated the frequent update of amino acid requirements to support this improvement. The first objective of this dissertation was to investigate the tryptophan requirement of laying hens in peak production and the lysine and sulfur amino acid requirements of broiler chicks under a phase feeding scenario using different models. Digestible tryptophan requirements were estimated to be 137 for egg production, 133 for egg mass, and 133 for feed efficiency using the linear broken-line model. The lysine and sulfur amino acid requirement were estimated by conducting 3 experiments within the starter phase from 2 to 5, 5 to 8, and 8 to 11 days of age. The linear broken line estimate for digestible lysine was 1.22, 1.17 and 1.16% for BWG and 1.31, 1.21, and 1.14% for FCR in experiments 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The linear broken line estimate for sulfur amino acids was 0.82, 0.81 and 0.94% for BWG and 0.82, 0.80, and 0.90 for FCR in experiments 4, 5, and 6, respectively. The lysine requirements decreased from 2 to 5 to 8 to 11 days, however the sulfur amino acid requirements increased during that same period. This could be due to other roles that sulfur amino acids play in the body other than growth.

The second objective of this dissertation was to investigate the effects of a direct fed microbial (DFM) on broilers exposed to a cyclic heat stress in 2 consecutive experiments. In this experiment, the heat stress treatment reduced body weight gain and lean tissue accretion from 0 to 35 d in both experiments. In Experiment 2, when the litter was reused BWG was increased by 36 g/bird with supplementation of DFM. Ileal digestibility at 28 d (2 hr post HS) was improved with DFM supplementation in both experiments. Serum FITC-d increased with HS at both 28 and 35 d. Serum FITC-d was generally decreased with DFM at 28 d but the response was inconsistent at 35 d. Overall, the results suggest that HS reduced broiler performance and DFM treatment improved intestinal permeability and nutrient digestibility responses to HS in both experiments but did not improve performance until built up litter was used in Experiment 2.

The last objective of this dissertation was to investigate the effects of sulfur amino acids (SAA) on broilers exposed to a cyclic heat stress. As expected, HS reduced BWG and worsened FCR. The supplementation of SAA had no effect on live performance. At 28 d of age, supplementation of SAA to birds exposed to HS resulted in reduced intestinal permeability. The interaction was lost at 31 d, but HS still increased intestinal permeability (P ≤ 0.05). Potential oxidative damage was reduced by increased SAA supplementation as indicated by an increase in the reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione ratio. These data suggest that intestinal permeability is compromised acutely to at least three days of heat exposure before the bird can adjust, but oxidative damage is more chronic building over the entire 7 d HS period. SAA might have some protective effect on both intestinal permeability and oxidative stress responses to HS.

amino acid, heat stress, direct fed microbial, laying hen, broiler