Evaluation of starter dietary digestible lysine level on broilers raised under a sex-separated or straight-run housing regime, part 2: Economics of sex separation and digestible lysine level for maximum returns

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The objective of this experiment was to determine the maximum net returns digestible lysine (dLys) levels (MNRL) when maintaining the ideal amino acid ratio for starter diets of broilers raised sex separate or comingled (straight-run). A total of 3,240 Ross 708 chicks was separated by sex and placed in 90 pens by 2 rearing types: sex separate (36 males or 36 females) or straight-run (18 males + 18 females). Each rearing type was fed 6 starter diets (25 d) formulated to have dLys levels between 1.05 and 1.80%. A common grower diet with 1.02% of dLys was fed from 25 to 32 days. Body weight gain (BWG) and feed intake were assessed at 25 and 32 d for performance evaluation. Additionally, at 26 and 33 d, 4 birds per pen were sampled for carcass yield evaluation. Data were modeled using response surface methodology in order to estimate feed intake and whole carcass weight at 1,600 g live BW. Returns over feed cost were estimated for a 1.8-million-broiler complex of each rearing system under 9 feed/meat price scenarios. Results indicated that females needed more feed to reach market weight, followed by straight-run birds, and then males. At medium meat and feed prices, female birds had MNRL at 1.07% dLys, whereas straight-run and males had MNRL at 1.05%. As feed and meat prices increased, females had MNRL increased up to 1.15% dLys. Sex separation resulted in increased revenue under certain feed and meat prices, and before sex separation cost was deducted. When the sexing cost was subtracted from the returns, sex separation was not shown to be economically viable when targeting birds for light market BW.

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