Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed an equation specifying how a broiler breeder's maintenance energy requirement fluctuates as a function of four variables: body weight, weight gain, external temperature and age, according to a Poultry Science Association report.

The goal of the research, which has been underwritten by poultry breeding company Aviagen, seeks to optimize reproductive performance of broiler breeders by controlling their growth curves through feed allocations, based on weather forecasts. 

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According to lead researcher Dr. Martin Zuidhof, the team has made progress in quantifying the relationship between feed, body temperature and external temperature, thereby understanding better the energy required by the breeder for growth at various temperatures. 

Dr. Zuidhof will present the results at the 2009 PSA Annual Meeting, to be held on July 20-23.