Evaluation of different dietary alterations in their ability to mitigate the incidence and severity of woody breast and white striping in commercial male broilers

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The following study was conducted to define how multiple nutritional strategies affect broiler performance, meat yield, and the presence and severity of white striping (WS) and woody breast (WB) in high-yielding broilers. Relative to a commercial set of reference broiler diets (Commercial reference diet; Trt 1) that were fed in a 4-phase program, the following nutritional strategies were investigated: increasing the ratio of digestible arginine: digestible lysine (dArg: dLys ranged from 113 to 126; Trt 2), supplementing Trt 1 with 94.4 mg vitamin C/kg feed (Trt 3), doubling the vitamin pack inclusion rate (Trt 4), reducing the digestible amino acid density (dAA) of only the grower phase by 15% and feeding the same Trt 1 starter, finisher, and withdraw diets (Trt 5), and combining the 4 strategies just mentioned (Trt 6). There was no difference in performance at the end of the starter phase (P = 0.066); however, at the end of the grower and finisher phases, feeding lower dAA grower diets suppressed BW (Trts 5 and 6; P < 0.001) and increased FCR. Differences in performance amongst all treatments disappeared at day 49 (P = 0.220). No differences were observed in average breast weight (P = 0.188); however, breast yield (as a % of live weight) was greatest for Trt 1 and least for Trt 6 (P = 0.041). The WB score dropped from 1.83 in Trt 1 to 1.49, 1.27, 1.74, 1.53, and 1.43 in treatments 2 to 6, respectively (P = 0.018). These changes were the result of a shift in WB score, where the WB class that contained scores of 2 and 3 shifted from 61.3% in Trt 1 to 49.3, 35.9, 60.0, 50.8, and 38.7 in treatments 2 to 6, respectively. Given the FCR, breast weight data and the fact that high WB scores result in a devaluation of breast meat, feeding a higher ratio of dArg: dLys, higher vitamin C, or lower dAA in the grower phase results in better breast meat quality and value.

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