Evaluation of Different Strategies for Broiler Feed Formulation Using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy

Using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) for the amino acid content of the raw materials in the feed formulation for broilers improved bodyweights, without affecting feed conversion, according to new research from Mexico.
calendar icon 3 February 2014
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An experiment was conducted to compare different strategies for feed formulation in commercial broiler production, reports D. McIntyre of Diamond V in Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

In a paper published with co-authors from the UK's Royal Veterinary College, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo and Adisseo de Mexico, they explain that table values for the total amino acid (TAA) contents of feed ingredients are the most common source of information in commercial feed formulation.

NIRS, they continue, is a tool for rapid and cost-effective prediction of the composition of plant and animal tissue and can be calibrated to predict the nutrient content of ingredients.

A total of 1,400 day-old Ross 308 mixed-sex broiler chickens were fed diets formulated in two feeding phases: starter (1 to 21 days) and finisher (22 to 48 days).

Four strategies of feed formulation were compared, using:

  • TAA table values (T1)
  • TAA values from NIRS (T2)
  • digestible amino acids (DAA) values from NIRS (T3), and
  • DAA and ME values from NIRS (T4).

At 21 days of age, T3 and T4 birds were significantly heavier than T1 birds (708 and 698 versus 688g, respectively).

Feed conversion ratio was significantly lower for T3 versus T1 birds (1.524 versus 1.611, respectively).

No differences were detected for feed intake and mortality.

At 42 days, T3 and T4 birds were significantly heavier than T1 birds (2.296 and 2.296 versus 2.226kg, respectively). Feed intake was higher in T3 birds than in T1 and T2 birds (4.121 versus 4.032 and 4.039 kg, respectively) but no difference in feed conversion ratio was observed between treatments.

No differences were detected for bodyweight, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, mortality, carcass yield (per cent), breast yield (per cent) or breast-to-carcass ratio at 48 days of age.

Feed formulation using NIRS as the source of information for ingredient amino acid content (T2, T3 and T4) improved broiler bodyweight at 21 and 42 days without affecting feed conversion ratio, concluded the researchers.


Soto C., E. Avila, J. Arce, F. Rosas and D. McIntyre. 2013. Evaluation of different strategies for broiler feed formulation using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy as a source of information for determination of amino acids and metabolizable energy. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(4):730-737. doi: 10.3382/japr.2013-00655

Further Reading

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February 2014

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