A new study has found that adjusting nutrition control in animal feed can improve the quality of poultry stocks bred for food.
The study, titled ‘Effect of low protein diets supplemented with free amino acids on growth performance, slaughter yield, litter quality, and footpad lesions of male broilers’ and published in the Poultry Science journal, examined the effects of lowering the protein content of animal feed on the health and quality of poultry. The scientists focused their research into nutrition control and CP levels on male ‘broilers’, chickens which are bred and raised for meat production.
The study examined the effects on broiler stocks of reducing the proportion of crude protein (CP) content in their diets: researchers noted that reducing dietary protein in animal feed would contribute to the EU’s efforts towards protein self-sufficiency, as well as lowering the pollution caused by feed production. The research found that by replacing amounts of crude protein content, in the form of soybean meal, with free amino acids, broilers’ feed conversion ratio improved. The birds which were fed the reduced levels of CP also exhibited improved litter quality, which may have contributed to a corresponding drop in the incidence of footpad lesions.
The researchers state: ‘The present study in growing broilers showed that a 2.2–2.3% units (22–23 g/kg) reduction of the CP content of grower and finisher diets, with adequate supplementation of essential amino acids, including lysine, methionine, threonine, arginine, isoleucine, valine and glycine, did not result in adverse effects on growth performance and slaughter yields. Moreover, the CP reduction reduced nitrogen and moisture content of litter and occurrence and severity of footpad lesions. Thus, reducing dietary CP seems to be a promising approach to reduce nitrogen excretion from broiler houses and to reduce the amount of vegetable protein in broiler diets, while simultaneously improving broiler welfare.’