Scientists and poultry genetic companies Cobb and Aviagen discussed innovative proposals on feeding the genetics in the poultry sector, with emphasis on antioxidants, vitamins and enzymes.
Dr Pelayo Casanovas of Cobb Europe spoke on improving male breeder performance and the quality of the day-old-chick. Cobb's research has shown that feeding the breeder with essential nutrients such as canthaxanthin (Carophyll Red) and 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 will not only improve hatchability, but will also have a positive impact on the liveability and the quality of the hatched chick.
Casanovas analysed individual male growth curves to promote best fertility peak and maintenance. Research at Cobb showed that the testes grow in weight until about 31-32 weeks of age and then slowly decline in weight again. Flock management has to be adapted to this natural process to ensure maximum testicular development and to slow down the age-related decline in fertility.
Once management is optimised on the male side to obtain maximum fertilisation rates for the eggs, further emphasis must be put on achieving top chick quality and first week performance. "Today many researchers believe that what goes on in the development of the chick from three days before hatch to three days after hatch greatly determines end performance," says Casanovas. "Incubation and first week progress is becoming more and more relevant as growout days have been reducing due to genetic progress."
The continuous advances in genetics and the consequent changes in breeder performance were addressed by Dr Michael Kidd, Mississippi State University.
Dr Marc de Beer of Aviagen USA reviewed nutritional strategies to optimise skeletal development in broilers.
University of Maryland's Dr Roselina Angel demonstrated how to use the matrix values of the unique pure protease for broilers, Ronozyme ProAct.
Dr Bob Fleming, Roslin Institute, tackled the issue of Black Bone Syndrome (BBS), focusing on the physiological reasons behind the problem and nutritional methods to limit its incidence.