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Effect of Arginine Supplementation of Broiler Breeder Hens on Progeny Performance

07 July 2014

This Brazilian work reveals that supplementation of the broiler breeder diet with the amino acid, arginine, had little effect on the progeny but there were benefits in terms of improved performance, meat yield and bone strength with higher arginine levels in the progeny's feed.

Two experiments were conducted by Jovanir Inês Müller Fernandes at the Federal University of Parana-Setor Palotina and others at Universidade Estadual de Maringa to determine the effects of arginine (Arg) supplementation of broiler breeder hens on the performance, carcass yield and bone measurements of their progeny.

In their paper in Canadian Journal of Animal Science, they explain that, in both experiments, the maternal diet was supplemented with five levels of digestible arginine (0.94, 1.09, 1.24, 1.39 and 1.54 per cent).

In Experiment 1, a total progeny of 1,050 chicks were housed in pens according to maternal diet and fed a typical diet without L-Arg supplementation.

In Experiment 2, a total progeny of 960 chicks were kept in pens according to maternal diet and fed diets containing supplemental L-Arg from 1.30 to 1.90 per cent in the starter phase and from 1.15 to 1.75 per cent in the grower phase.

The data obtained in both experiments were deployed in orthogonal polynomials to allow for an analysis of variance and a regression analysis.

In the starter phase, there was a quadratic effect (P<0.05) of arginine level in the maternal diet on the feed:gain ratio of the non-supplemented progeny. In the arginine-supplemented progeny, there was a quadratic effect (P<0.05) of arginine level on the feed intake and feed:gain ratio and a linear increase (P<0.05) in bodyweight gain, and carcass and breast yields (P<0.05).

Femur length, tibia diameter and the Seedor index of both bones increased linearly (P<0.05) in broilers fed the arginine-supplemented diet. 

Arginine supplementation in the broiler breeder hen diets had little positive effect on the non-supplemented progeny, concluded Fernandes and co-authors. However, arginine supplementation of the progeny diet is necessary to optimise performance, carcass yield and bone quality of these hens’ progeny.


Fernandes, J.I.M., Murakami, A.E., Gomes de Souza, L.M., Ospina-Rojas, I.C. and Rossi, R.M. 2014. Effect of arginine supplementation of broiler breeder hens on progeny performance. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 94: 313–321.

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July 2014

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