Influence of Dietary Lysine Levels and Arginine:Lysine Ratios on Performance of Broilers Exposed to Heat or Cold Stress during the Period of Three to Six Weeks of Age
MetadataShow full item record
Four trials of identical experimental design were conducted to determine the effects of temperature, dietary Lys level, and dietary Arg:Lys ratios on performance and carcass yield of male broilers. Birds of a commercial strain were grown from 21 to 42 d of age in wire-floored finishing batteries placed in environmental chambers. The chambers were programmed to provide either a constant thermoneutral temperature (21.1 C), a constant cold temperature (15.5 C), or a cycling hot diurnal temperature (25.5 to 33.3 C). Within each environment there was a factorial arrangement of three Lys levels (1.0, 1.1, and 1.2%) with four Arg:Lys ratios (1.1:1, 1.2:1, 1.3:1, and 1.4:1). Environmental temperature significantly influenced virtually every characteristic examined. Hot cyclic temperatures reduced weight gain, feed intake, and breast meat yield, and increased feed conversion, dressing percentage, leg quarter yield, and abdominal fat content. The cold environment promoted increased feed intake and mortality. Ascites and cardiomyopathy were the leading causes of death under cold exposure and thermoneutral conditions, whereas complications arising from heat exposure were the main cause of death under hot cyclic conditions. Levels of Lys affected leg quarter yield and abdominal fat content over all environments but increased breast meat yield only under cold conditions. Increasing Arg: Lys ratios improved feed conversion and dressing percentage and reduced abdominal fat content; it could not be determined whether these responses were consistent with Arg per se or were due to a nonspecific N response. As increasing Lys levels or Arg:Lys ratios did not improve weight gain, increase breast meat yield, or attenuate adverse effects due to heat or cold exposure, it is concluded that the levels of Lys and Arg suggested for 21 to 42 d by the NRC are adequate for birds of this age under the environmental conditions encountered.