10 important days in the life of a broiler

Why does an efficient starter diet during the first 10 days make a difference to broiler performance throughout the production lifecycle? A feeding trial at the University of New England, Australia, has investigated the carry-over effect of HP AviStart from Hamlet Protein on broiler digestive systems.

HP AviStart is a source of highly digestible soy protein that is low in anti-nutritional factors. For the trial, 2.5%, 5% and 10% doses were added to maize and wheat-based starter diets which were then fed to male Ross 308 birds from day 1 to day 10. The control diets contained no HP AviStart.

The birds were housed in groups of 10, with 6 replicates per treatment.

Regardless of whether broilers received the wheat or maize-based diet, feed conversion rate and carcass yield were both improved if the diet contained HP AviStart. The highest dose of the specialty soy protein gave the lowest FCR compared to the control (Table 1).

Figure 1 shows that, in the maize-based diet, the greatest improvement in the ileal digestibility of protein was 10% at an addition level of 2.5% HP AviStart. The maximum improvement in the wheat-based diet was 5%, observed in broilers fed the diet with 5% HP AviStart.

Figure 1 - Ileal CP digestibility.

Improved carcass yield was calculated from breast, thigh and drumstick measurements. Compared to the control group, birds fed a starter diet with HP AviStart had around 10% more breast and thigh meat and 5% higher drumstick yield. The highest yield was obtained with 5% addition of HP AviStart (Table 2).

In broilers fed both the maize and wheat-based diets, villus/crypt ratio increased following a starter diet with HP AviStart and was highest at a 5% addition rate. A strong correlation was observed between villus/crypt ratio and breast meat.

Figure 2 - Carryover effect at day 24 on villus/crypt ratio after feeding HP AviStart in the starter diet (day 1-10).

These findings support previous studies of the carryover effect of HP AviStart on broiler performance, gut health and protein digestibility. Improved body weight and feed conversion rate alone point to a high return on investment when HP AviStart is added to broiler starter feed.

Author: Katia Pedrosa, poultry nutritionist