Publications

Impact of growth curve and dietary energy-to-protein ratio on productive performance of broiler breeders

Heijmans, J.; Duijster, M.; Gerrits, W.J.J.; Kemp, B.; Kwakkel, R.P.; Brand, H. van den

Summary

The impact of growth curve (GC) and dietary energy-to-protein ratio on productive performance of broiler breeder females was investigated from 0 to 60 wk of age. One-day-old pullets (n = 1,536) were randomly allotted to 24 pens according to a 2 × 4 factorial arrangement, with 2 GC (standard growth curve = SGC or elevated growth curve = EGC, +15%) and 4 diets, differing in energy-to-protein ratio (96%, 100%, 104%, or 108% AMEn). Feed allocation per treatment was adapted weekly based on the desired GC, meaning that breeders fed the different diets within each GC were fed according to a paired-gain strategy. Linear and quadratic contrasts for energy-to-protein ratio for each GC were evaluated. Elevated growth curve breeders had an earlier sexual maturity (∆ = 4.1 d) than SGC breeders. Egg weight was higher for EGC breeders (∆ = 2.3 g) than for SGC breeders over the whole laying phase (22-60 wk). No differences between EGC and SGC breeders were observed on settable egg production. An increase in dietary energy-to-protein, at a similar BW, led to a linear increase in age at sexual maturity (β = 0.14 d/% AMEn). From 22 to 40 wk of age, an increase in dietary energy-to-protein ratio led to a linear decrease in egg weight (β = -0.06 g/% AMEn), regardless of GC. An interaction between GC and dietary energy-to-protein ratio was observed on settable egg production in this phase. An increase in dietary energy-to-protein ratio led to a linear decrease on settable egg production, which was more profound in EGC breeders (β = -0.70 eggs/% AMEn) than in SGC breeders (β = -0.19 eggs/% AMEn). From 41 to 60 wk of age, an interaction between GC and dietary energy-to-protein ratio was observed on egg weight. In the EGC, an increase in dietary energy-to-protein ratio led to a linear decrease in egg weight (β = -0.13 g/% AMEn), whereas in the SGC, a linear increase in egg weight was observed (β = 0.03 g/% AMEn). From 41 to 60 wk of age, no differences between diets were observed on settable egg production. It can be concluded that a higher GC of breeders has beneficial effects on egg weight, while maintaining settable egg production. Feeding breeders a lower dietary energy-to-protein ratio stimulated productive performance of broiler breeder hens, mainly during the first phase of lay. This effect was more profound when breeders were fed according to a higher GC.