Today’s commercial broiler is the fastest growing, leanest and most feed efficient bird ever produced. Intensive ge-netic selection over the past few decades has resulted in the production of broilers requiring higher standards of care, health, bio security and nutrition to realize the benefits:
- Improved weight for age
- Improved feed conversion rate
- Increased growth rate of lean muscle tissue
- Greater breast meat yield
- Reduced body fat
Nutrition is key to capitalizing on improved genetic po-tential on farm. Nutrients must be supplied in the correct amounts and balanced to support rapid and efficient body weight gains.
Energy is supplied primarily by carbohydrates from grain sources, fats and oils. It is required for the growth of tissue and maintenance of normal body functions.
Protein is supplied primarily from grains, oilseed meals and animal by product meals. It is broken down into amino ac-ids as a result of digestive processes. Protein quality is de-termined by its balance of essential amino acids.
Calcium and phosphorus are required for bone development and nervous and immune system function. Sodium, potassium and chloride are essential for a number of metabolic systems. Deficiencies can affect feed intake and growth, while excesses will encourage water intake and consequently wet litter.
Vitamins and Trace Minerals
Vitamins and trace minerals are needed for all metabolic functions. They are supplied in trace amounts and are essential to maximize broiler growth.
The role of the Nutritionist
Nutritionists must constantly re-evaluate nutrient require-ments in order to determine the most profitable approach to feeding broilers as the genetic potential is improving con-stantly.
Body weight gain, feed efficiency and carcass composition are influenced by the nutrient density of the diet. Deciding on the number and type of diets to be used in a feeding pro-gram is an economic decision based on maximizing profit-ability. Today’s broiler strains will perform better when fed a more nutrient dense diet with a higher amino acid to energy ratio. During stages of rapid growth, their protein and amino acid requirements are increasing at a faster rate than their energy requirements. Marginal or deficient nutrient levels in the diet can compromise daily gain, feed conversion, breast meat yield and/or lead to loss of flock uniformity.
There are many biological and environmental factors that are constantly changing when it comes to raising commercial broilers. These factors interact with genetics to influence the growth, feed intake and overall performance of broilers. Responses to improved nutrition are only achieved when such factors are not limiting performance. Ask a New-Life Mills Poultry Specialist about how you can improve flock performance.