Effect of the addition of glycosaminoglycans on bone and cartilaginous development of broiler chickens

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Abstract

Locomotion issues in broiler production may decrease performance (carcass yield and traits) and lead to high financial losses. This study evaluates the addition of glucosaminoglycans in broiler diets to minimize the lack of proper bone development and joint weakening. The experiment was conducted using 2,160 broilers randomly distributed in a factorial pattern (3 × 3) using 3 levels of glucosamine sulfate (0, 0.12, and 0.24%) and 3 levels of chondroitin sulfate addition (0, 0.08, and 0.16%). Eight repetitions were used for each treatment, distributed in 72 pens with 30 broilers each. There was a quadratic effect on feed conversion for broilers from 1 to 42 d old (P = 0.0123) for the addition of chondroitin, and better feed conversion was obtained by adding 0.08% of chondroitin. The relative tibia weight, the width of the proximal epiphysis and diaphysis presented a linear increased effect in broilers at 42 d old. An interaction was found between the amount of chondroitin × glucosamine and the number of chondrocytes in the proximal cartilage of the tibia (P = 0.0072). There was a quadratic effect of glucosamine levels (P = 0.0107) in the birds that had received the 0.16% addition of chondroitin, and the presence of 0.18% glucosamine increased the number chondrocytes in the cartilage of broilers. These results provide the first evidence that broilers may benefit from increased dietary chondroitin sulfate. These results indicate that the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates in broiler feed rations might alleviate leg conditions and decrease financial losses in the broiler industry.

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