Effects of Broiler Breeder Genetic, Diet Type and Feeding Programme on Maternal Antibody Transfer and Development of Lymphoid Tissues in Chicken Progeny

Researchers based in the US and Brazil have demonstrated that the feeding programme and diet fed to broiler breeders can impact the immune system of the progeny.
calendar icon 31 January 2012
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Maternal antibody (MatAb) transfer is important for early chicken survival, explain N.M. Leandro of North Carolina State University in the US and co-authors there and at Universidade Federal de Goiás and Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in São Paulo in Brazil in their paper published recently in Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

The researchers explain that diet composition and the amount of feed given to breeder pullets during rearing may affect the development of immunity and the transfer of MatAb to progeny, and could affect progeny performance and resistance to disease. The effects of broiler breeder nutrition and feeding management practices were evaluated for the transfer of MatAb to progeny and for spleen and bursa development at hatching in two genetic strains (A and B).

In their experiment, the group assessed levels of MatAb against Newcastle disease virus by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in serum samples taken of pedigree chicken progeny from hatching to 13 days of age. Chickens were fed corn- and wheat-based diets, as were their parents.

Breeder feeding programme and diet type altered the Newcastle disease virus MatAb found in progeny at hatching and affected how long these antibodies were maintained in circulation. Bursal follicle size at hatching was influenced by an interaction among all factors evaluated. Percentage of white pulp in the spleen was affected mainly by genetic strain and diet type but responses varied according to the breeder feeding programme.

Leandro and co-authors concluded that breeder feeding programmes influence MatAb transfer and half-life, and may also affect the early development of lymphoid tissues.


Leandro N.M., R. Ali, M. Koci, V. Moraes, R.D. Malheiros, M.J. Wineland and E.O. Oviedo-Rondón. 2011. Effects of broiler breeder genetic, diet type, and feeding program on maternal antibody transfer and development of lymphoid tissues in chicken progeny. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 20(4):474-484. doi: 10.3382/japr.2010-00268

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January 2012
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