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Utilizing amino acid balance and functional properties to improve production in broiler breeder pullets and hens

Kriseldi, R.

The goal of feeding broiler breeders is to ensure adequate daily nutrient intake to achieve predetermined target body weight, optimal body composition, and planned egg output. When designing diets to fit the nutrient requirements for broiler breeders in different physiological phases, such as energy and amino acids, the needs for maintenance, weight gain, and egg mass must be considered. Over time, the need for adequate daily nutrient intake for broiler breeders has evolved due to genetic progress. This has led to birds that present high appetites while also feed efficient. Though these characteristics are desirable for broilers, they bring some unintended consequences to broiler breeders. The increased appetite in pullets can shorten feed cleanup time, which increases the difficulty of keeping the flock uniform. The genetic potential for muscle deposition may cause birds to easily develop over-fleshing when diets are too dense in lysine content. Such condition is not suitable for egg production and mating activity. In contrast, providing diets poorly balanced in some amino acids can produce poor feathering, abnormal behavior, and suboptimum body composition, which in turn will reduce livability, egg production, fertility, and hatchability. Achieving optimal development in broiler breeders requires well-balanced amino acid diets. However, formulating breeder diets to satisfy adequate development and reproduction warrants a more complex and holistic approach in which ingredients and nutrients must be judiciously integrated. Modern broiler breeders require strict control of lysine without compromising the requirement for other amino acids. A more integral list of ingredients (wheat middlings, canola meal, peanut meal, sunflower meal, soy hulls, rice hulls, oat hulls, kaolin, etc.) in addition to the common use of corn and soybean meal may be necessary not only as other sources of amino acids but also diluents. Allowing the inclusion of available feed-grade amino acids in the diet can also help accomplish the desired amino acid balance in the feed. The success of these strategies should also be accompanied by the use of multiple feeding phases as amino acid needs at each growth and production stage are different.

Utilizing more feeding phases allows for more flexibility in controlling feed allocation, thus daily amino acid intake, concurrently with body weight, egg size, and flock uniformity control. While these practices are beneficial in contributing to optimum production, balancing amino acid content is only one aspect of feeding the modern broiler breeder. Energy, vitamins, and minerals are also of utmost importance in providing the best diet for these birds.