Feed Restriction Does Not Impact Broiler Meat Quality

BRAZIL - A new study shows no significant impacts on final bodyweight or meat quality of broilers fed reduced nutrients between eight and 16 days of age if the restriction is done by limiting the volume of feed offered or the time it is available.
calendar icon 27 June 2013
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Two experiments were performed, with male and female broilers separately, to evaluate the effect of early feed restriction on performance, carcass, organs, breast, legs, and back weights and breast meat quality, report researchers based at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre.

In the latest issue of Journal of Applied Poultry Research, F.M. Butzen and colleagues explain that treatments were applied from 8 to 16 days of age as follows:

  • without feed restriction [T1; standard feed (SF) ad libitum]
  • quantity restriction (T2; 80 per cent ad libitum consumption of SF)
  • time restriction (T3; SF offered for eight hours per day), and
  • quality restriction (T4; SF with 80 per cent of the limiting nutrients).

Birds from both sexes submitted to T2 or T3 had lower bodyweights at the end of the restriction period, however, they were able to reach the same bodyweights at 42 days as birds on T1.

Quality restriction did not reduce initial growth because birds compensated for the dilution by increasing feed intake.

Organ weights recovered more quickly than the other fractions.

Females on T3 recovered bodyweight earlier than males.

Quantity restriction allowed the full recovery of breast weight at 35 days, whereas T3 only achieved that at 42 days.

Restriction programmes did not have any effect on weight loss due to thawing, cooking, shear force or lipid oxidation on the breast meat.

The researchers concluded that early restriction programmes either by T2 or T3 can be used as a method for controlling growth rate in broilers without any damage to performance and meat quality at 42 days of age.


Butzen F.M., A.M.L. Ribeiro, M.M. Vieira, A.M. Kessler, J.C. Dadalt and M.P. Della. 2013. Early feed restriction in broilers. I–Performance, body fraction weights, and meat quality. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(2):251-259. doi: 10.3382/japr.2012-00639

Further Reading

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