Optimizing nutrient density to maximize broiler production gross income
Optimizing nutrient density
One of the challenges a broiler producer faces, is maximizing profit at least cost while ensuring a high broiler performance. One of the key factors of broiler performance when looking at feed is the dietary nutrient density. This nutrient density can be regulated by feed additives like hydrolyzed lecithin, better known as lysolecithins. Lysolecithins increase nutrient availability and reduce the need for high-density diets.
Proper management of energy intake not only influences growth performance and feed digestibility but also affects the carcass traits and quality of the product. Usually, high-density diets are used to obtain high growth performances and improve feed conversion ratio (FCR) by reducing feed intake. However, as these diets are obtained by adding large amounts of oils and fats, they are rather costly and young animals like broilers produce insufficient amounts of bile salts and lipase needed for an efficient fat digestion of these high fat levels. Further increases in dietary density might only result in marginal improvements in performance that do not justify the costs anymore and can even lead to economic losses due to the excessive deposition of abdominal fat or metabolic disorders. As broilers eat with the goal of satisfying their energy requirements, high-density diets might lead to an insufficient intake of other key nutrients like protein and vitamins. Alternatively, lower dense diets are used to reduce feed costs but at the expense of broiler performance and product quality. Although, there is no clear conclusion yet on the discussion on optimal dietary density, it is clear that nutrient efficiency lies at the core of this discussion. This brings us to the concept of “minimum nutrition” which combines a reduced dietary nutrient density with the usage of digestive enhancers that enhance nutrient availability and utilization.