Multigenerational effects of a reduced balanced protein diet during the rearing and laying period of broiler breeders. 2. Zootechnical performance of the F1 broiler offspring

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Abstract

Several studies in mammals focused on the maternal programming of the metabolism by epigenetic mechanisms, while currently, the consequences of a maternal dietary treatment on the offspring performance of farm animals are of particular interest for commercial purpose. In the present study, we investigated if the zootechnical performance of the progeny was altered by a maternal dietary treatment, being a lower dietary crude protein (CP) of the grandparent and/or parent generation. The multigenerational effects of a reduced maternal CP content were investigated by reducing the dietary CP level by 25% in rearing and laying diets of pure line A breeders. The F0 generation breeders were fed either control (C) or reduced balanced protein (RP) diets. The F1 breeder generation was constructed by dividing the F0 female progeny again over a C or RP diet, resulting in 4 dietary treatments in the F1 generation: C/C, C/RP, RP/C, and RP/RP (letters indicating the diets in, respectively, F0 and F1 generations). The offspring performance was evaluated by a zootechnical and nitrogen retention trial on C and low-protein (LP) broiler diets. For the C broiler diet, the C/RP and RP/RP offspring were characterized by a higher BW from d 35 until d 42 compared to the C/C progeny, whereas the RP/C offspring had an intermediate BW that did not differ from the other groups. A tendency (P = 0.067) towards a better nitrogen retention was observed for the offspring of breeders that received the RP diets in F0 and/or F1 generation compared to the C/C progeny. For the LP broiler diet, the C/RP (P = 0.021) and RP/C (P = 0.001) offspring had a higher BW compared to the C/C progeny during the entire grow-out period. In addition, the C/RP offspring were characterized by a lower FCR from d 28 onwards (P = 0.021). In conclusion, dietary treatments imposed on mother hens can have direct effects on the next generation, as well as indirect effects on multiple generations.

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