Management of broilers breeder must be altered continuously due to the changing genetic properties. That was the overall conclusion of the Broiler Breeder Nutrition Seminar in Wageningen on the 6th of February 2015. This seminar was organised by Wageningen UR on the occasion of the thesis defence of Rick van Emous.
According to chair René Kwakkel, broiler breeders play an important role in the poultry meat chain. A relative small number of parent stock can have a major impact on following links in the chain. Therefore optimisation of the diet and management is necessary.
Feeding strategies and body weight uniformity
Rick van Emous (The Netherlands) presented his recent work with different feeding strategies and the effects on body composition and reproduction in broiler breeders. His take home message was: “A modern broiler breeder needs a higher energy-protein ratio in the diet during the rearing and 2nd phase of the laying period”. Feeding management (eg frequency, timing of feed delivery, feeder space, etc) affects uniformity of body weight. Poor body weight uniformity results in reduced reproductive success because of overweight and underweight birds. For these reasons, Dr Martin Zuidhof and his research team (Canada) developed a Precision Broiler Breeder Feeding System. This innovative integrated feeding management system aimed to feed the birds ‘the right amount of feed on the right time’.
Emeritus Prof. Dr Rob M. Gous (South Africa) was the third speaker and his talk was about light and breeders. He postulated that “less light is better for broiler breeders”. He explained the attendees that broiler breeder react different than layers on photo stimulation. From different experiments he concludes that a photo period of 13 hours during the laying period is the optimum.
Transgenerational effects of feed restriction
Based on the results of Van Emous, Prof. Dr Johan Buyse (Belgium) started a long-term project with different feeding strategies during the rearing and laying period of breeders. They follow broiler breeders during 3 generations and the focus is on the transgenerational effects of qualitative and quantitative feed restriction on behavior and welfare. They found comparable effects on body composition as found by Van Emous. Besides, they found interesting effects on motivation behaviour of the birds.
The overall conclusion of the seminar was that management of broilers breeder must be altered continuously due to the changing genetic properties.