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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ascites Syndrome and Related Pathologies in Feed Restricted Broilers Raisedin a Hypobaric Chamber

Authors
item Balog, Janice
item Anthony, N - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Cooper, M - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Kidd, B - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Huff, Geraldine
item Huff, William
item Rath, Narayan

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 7, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Ascites syndrome is a metabolic disease of poultry that results in enlargement of the heart and fluid build-up in the body cavity. In chickens, this disease is thought to be caused by the bird's heart and lung capacity not being able to keep up with the bird's rapid growth rate. Feed restriction is a very common treatment, unfortunately the restrictions practiced can have a detrimental effect on growth. This experiment was conducted to determine if feed restriction could be used to reduce the incidence of ascites in broilers raised in a hypobaric chamber (which simulates high altitude), without adversely affecting weight gain. A total of 600 commercial broiler males were utilized for this study. birds were divided to place 360 birds in the hypobaric chamber at a simulated 9,500 ft above sea level, and 240 birds were placed at local elevation (1,300 ft above sea level). At each altitude, there were 4 treatments: 1.) Full fed controls; 2.) Feed available for 8 each day for 6 weeks, the duration of the study; 3.) Feed available for 8 hours a day during the first 3 weeks, then full feed for the remaining 3 weeks; and 4.) Full feed for the first week, then 3 weeks of 8 hour feed availability, then 2 weeks of full feed. Birds and feed were weighed weekly. At the end of the study, blood samples were taken and birds were examined, scored for ascites and organ weights were recorded. All feed restriction treatments significantly reduced ascites incidence, when compared with full fed controls. Within the same simulated altitude, full fed controls were heavier than birds in treatment 2 but not being in other treatment groups. The full fed controls at local elevation were heavier than the full fed controls at simulated high altitude.

Technical Abstract: Feed restriction is becoming a more common treatment employed to reduce the incidence of ascites in broilers and roasters. Unfortunately, the restriction programs practiced also have a detrimental effect on growth characteristics. This experiment was conducted to determine if feed restriction could be used to reduce the incidence of ascites in broilers raised in a hypobaric chamber, without adversely affecting weight gain. A total of 600 commercial broiler males were utilized for this study. Birds were divided to place 360 birds in the hypobaric chamber at a simulated 9,500 ft above sea level, and 240 birds were placed at local elevation (1,300 ft above sea level). At each altitude, there were 4 treatments: 1.) Full fed controls; 2.) Feed available for 8 hours each day for 6 weeks, the duration of the study; 3.) Feed available for 8 hours a day during the first 3 weeks, then full feed for the remaining 3 weeks; and 4.) Full feed for the first week, then 3 weeks of 8 hour feed availability, then 2 weeks of full feed. Birds and feed were weighed weekly and mortalities were necropsied to determine the cause of death. At the end of the study, blood samples were taken and birds were necropsied, scored for ascites and organ weights were recorded. All feed restriction treatments significantly reduced ascites incidence, when compared with full fed controls. Within altitudes, full fed controls were only heavier than birds in treatment 2. The full fed controls at local elevation were heavier than the full fed controls at simulated high altitude.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014