Leucine and valine supplementation of low-protein diets for broiler chickens from 21 to 42 days of age
The objective of this study was to determine the requirements and interactions between the standardized ileal digestible (SID) Leu and Val levels in low-protein diets, and their effects on performance, serum characteristics, carcass yield and diameter of muscle fibers of broiler chickens from d 21 to 42 posthatch. A total of 1,500 21-day-old Cobb 500 male broiler chickens were distributed in a completely randomized design in a 5 × 5 factorial arrangement for a total of 25 treatments with 3 replicates of 20 birds each. Treatments consisted of 5 SID Leu levels (1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, or 1.8%) and 5 SID Val levels (0.52, 0.67, 0.82, 0.97, or 1.12%). At 42 d of age, there was interaction (P < 0.05) between the SID levels of Leu and Val on feed intake and weight gain. There was a quadratic effect (P < 0.05) of Leu and Val levels on feed conversion, with minimal point estimated at the levels of 1.19 and 0.86%, respectively. Dietary Leu supplementation reduced linearly (P < 0.05) serum concentrations of triglycerides and β-hydroxybutyrate. Dietary Leu increased (P ≤ 0.05) the fiber diameters of the pectoralis major muscle and breast yield at the levels of 1.24 and 1.13%, respectively, while the thigh yield was improved with the level of 0.71% Val. Abdominal fat decreased linearly (P < 0.05) with increasing levels of dietary Leu and Val. The SID Leu and Val levels needed to optimize weight gain and feed conversion in low-CP diets for broiler chickens from d 21 to 42 posthatch were estimated at 1.15 and 0.86%, and 1.19 and 0.86%, respectively. The supplementation of Leu and Val can reduce the abdominal fat deposition in birds fed low-CP diets during the grower phase. Leu and Val interactions can influence the performance but not the serum characteristics, carcass yield and diameter of muscle fibers of broilers fed low-protein diets. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the dietary Leu content to estimate the ideal level of Val in low-CP diets for optimum broiler performance.