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Poultry Breeding & Genetics / Broilers & Layers / Poultry Nutrition / Animal Feed Additives
on March 17, 2017

How to improve broiler feed efficiency beyond genetics

There are measures we can take to improve feed efficiency, but they entail a cost that must be balanced against any benefits.

Broilers already grow at maximal rates due to advances in genetics and nutrition, but we still have room to improve feed efficiency, said Dr. Leonardo Linares, senior nutritionist at Aviagen, in a recent event on poultry nutrition sponsored by Hamlet Protein during EuroTier 2016.

When you think about it, the reason is rather obvious. Most of the factors affecting feed efficiency are related to the feed itself, and every nutritionist will agree with me in saying that we are still rather behind genetics in this aspect. So, the question that we shall strive to answer is: How to improve feed efficiency beyond genetics.

What is feed efficiency?

Before we even attempt to improve feed efficiency, let us define what is and what is not feed efficiency. In practical terms, feed efficiency is the number of kilograms or pounds of feed consumed per kilogram or pound of body weight gain. This is the universal expression of feed efficiency, often termed feed conversion rate, or rather stylish in American nomenclature as FCR. But, that’s not all. The correct definition is gain/feed, as this is the term used by modern economics and scientific journals, but we shall ignore such details.

There is an increasing amount of evidence pointing toward the fact that an early boost in life leads to a more profitable broiler.

A more appropriate way of measuring feed efficiency is using the amount of energy consumed instead of feed consumed. This is because birds will tend to equalize energy intake…

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