A research project completed at North Carolina State University (NCSU) has shown there are benefits of zinc supplementation in broilers. The research, led by Dr. Doug Smith, recently studied the effects of zinc and copper supplementation on broiler live performance, carcass yield and breast meat color.  

Supplementation of zinc and copper in broiler diets is a common practice. It has been postulated that this supplementation may be involved in the occasional red discoloration of fully cooked poultry products. NCSU researchers found that neither zinc nor coppers supplementation were associated with discoloration of the meat, however redness of the bone marrow was associated with zinc supplementation. In male broilers, body weight gain, feed conversion and breast fillet weights were all enhanced by zinc supplementation. Similar effects were not seen in female broilers. This research indicates that supplementation of 120 mg/kg of zinc has important potential benefits for broiler production.


Smith was assisted by Dr. John Brake and Rasha Qudsieh, also of North Carolina State University.

The project was funded as part of the comprehensive research program offered by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and USPOULTRY Foundation. The research program encompasses all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.