Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola
Print version ISSN 1516-635X
MOREIRA, J et al. Evaluation of strain, dietary energy level and stocking density on broiler feathering. Rev. Bras. Cienc. Avic. [online]. 2006, vol.8, n.1, pp. 15-22. ISSN 1516-635X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-635X2006000100002.
This study evaluated the effects of strain, stocking density and dietary energy level on the feathering of broiler chickens. Four trials were carried out between September 2000 and April 2002. There were 10,685 broiler chicks from the strains Ross 308, Cobb 500, Hybro PG, Hubbard, MPK, and Isa Vedette. The bids were reared at stocking densities varying between 10 and 16 birds/m2 and were given diets containing different metabolizable energy levels. Broiler feathering was evaluated either by atrributing scores from 1 to 10 to feather covering along the thigh and back (visual inspection), or by determining the percentage weight of the feathers at 28 and 42 days of age. Increasing rearing densities resulted in poorer feathering, mainly if 12 or 13 birds/m2 were compared with 16 birds/m2. The strains showed different feathering; it was better in Cobb 500 and MPK birds, whereas Hubbard birds showed poorer feathering, mostly along the back. The energy level in the diet has also affected feathering scores. Medium energy level resulted in better feathering along the back at 28 days, and the low level, in better feathering along the thigh at 35 days of age. Finally, feather scores were better in females than in males.
Keywords : Broiler chickens; dietary energy; feathering; strain; stocking density.