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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Posthatch feeding and early development in broiler chicks

INRA Prod. Anim., 14(4), 219-230.


INRA, Station de Recherches Avicoles, 37380 Nouzilly


For the last ten years, early nutrition of newbornchicks has attracted increasing interest due to itslong term effects on broiler performances. Residualyolk is quickly resorbed. It represents a small contribution(1 day) to nutritional requirements inducedby the intensive growth of digestive organs and functionand of the pectoral muscle during the two tothree days post-hatch. Hatching and transportationprocedures delay the feeding of chicks by 10 to 60hours from one individual to another. Several publishedstudies conclude that this starvation at a criticalmoment may have long lasting negative effects ongrowth and immune response of chicks. The fewpublished studies on early life nutrition suggest thatregular diet might be too rich in lipids and too poorin proteins. Moreover, it is necessary to slow downgrowth between one and three weeks of age in orderto reduce leg and metabolic disorders later on.Nutritional tuning for young broilers might includethree phases: an early stimulation during the firstweek, a mild restriction from one to three weeks, followedby a predominantly economic oriented optimisationafter three weeks of age. Within such a pattern,the effects of early stimulation by an earlieror/and wiser feeding of chicks on meat quality andoverall performances require precise quantification.

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