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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Optimizing Heavy Broiler Management and Housing Environment for Sustainable Production

Location: Poultry Research

Title: Effects of strain and light intensity on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers grown to heavy weights

Authors
item Olanrewaju, Hammed
item Miller, W -
item Maslin, W -
item Collier, Stephanie
item Purswell, Joseph
item Branton, Scott

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2014
Publication Date: June 4, 2014
Citation: Olanrewaju, H.A., Miller, W.W., Maslin, W.R., Collier, S.D., Purswell, J.L., Branton, S.L. 2014. Effects of strain and light intensity on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers grown to heavy weights. Poultry Science. 93:1890-1899.

Interpretive Summary: Manipulation of lighting programs is a strategy used to reduce the incidence of metabolic and skeletal disorders in broiler chickens. Most studies have not evaluated gradient levels of light intensity that are typical of those found in commercial poultry practice with modern early- and late-developing broiler production systems designed to optimum growth and meat yield. Evaluating production responses of heavy weight broiler strains to low light intensity is warranted and further knowledge of the effects of light intensity will enhance management strategies to improve production efficiency and breast meat yield. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated the effects of genetic strain, Ross × Ross 308, which has been selected for fast growth and high efficiency, and Ross × Ross 708, which has been selected for high yield and light intensity that are typical of those found in commercial poultry production on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers grown to heavy weights. There were age and sex effects on most examined production and carcass characteristics variables. Results indicated that at 56 days of age, we observed the effects of genetic strain on most of the examined variables, where Ross × Ross 308 had better growth performance and meat yield in comparison with Ross × Ross 708. Although, there was no main effect of light intensity on growth performance and meat yield, results indicated that birds under 10 and 5 lx intensities showed slightly better growth performance and meat yield compared to birds under 25, 2.5 and 0.2 lx in both strains. This study shows the positive influence on profits to commercial poultry facilities that are using low lighting environment to reduce energy utilization costs, hyperactivity, and pecking damage without physiological stress effects on broiler health.

Technical Abstract: The effects of genetic strain and light intensity on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broilers grown to heavy weights were investigated. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design. Treatment structure was a 2 × 5 factorial arrangement with the main factors being strain (Ross × Ross 308; Ross × Ross 708) and light intensity (25, 10, 5, 2.5, 0.2 lx) with trial as replicates. In each of the 5 trials, chicks of 2 different strains from the same commercial hatchery were equally and randomly distributed into 10 environmentally-controlled rooms (5 rooms/strain) at 1 d of age at 50% RH. Each room was randomly assigned one of five light intensities from d 22 to 56 d of age. A four phase-feeding program (starter, grower, finisher, withdrawal) and water were provided ad libitum. Birds and feed were weighed on 0, 14, 28, 42, and 56 d of age for growth performance. On d 56, 20 (10 males and 10 females) birds/strain from each room were processed to determine weights and yields. Genetic strain was significant (P = 0.05) for most of the examined variables, where Ross × Ross 308 had better growth performance and meat yield in comparison with Ross × Ross 708. Although, there was no main effect of light intensity on growth performance and meat yield, results indicated that birds under 10 and 5 lx intensities showed slightly better growth performance and meat yield compared to birds under 25, 2.5 and 0.2 lx in both strains. There was no effect of strain, light intensity or their interactions on plasma corticosterone levels, but there was an effect on mortality. This study shows the positive influence on profits to commercial poultry facilities that are using low lighting environment to reduce energy utilization costs, hyperactivity, and pecking damage without physiological stress effects on broiler health.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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