The intake of nutrients is defined by the nutrient levels in the feed and the amount of feed consumed. Nutrient requirements of meat chickens (broilers) are outlined below.
There are a number of factors that influence voluntary feed intake. These are discussed in the section on feed intake. Table 1 provides data on typical feed consumption and body weight for modern broiler chickens in relation to age and sex.
Table 1. Body weight and cumulative feed consumption for male and female broilers
|Age (weeks)||Body weight (g)||Cumulative
Feed Intake (g)
|Body weight (g)||Cumulative
Feed Intake (g)
Source: Poultry CRC
Feeding strategies for broiler chickens will vary depending on the target market for the final product. Strategies for feeding broilers destined for the whole bird market will differ from strategies for broilers destined to be sold as pieces. Furthermore, the nutrient intake of fast growing broilers must be carefully controlled to prevent metabolic diseases such as ascites and leg weakness. Table 2 provides data on typical levels of selected nutrients for broiler diets.
Table 2. Examples of broiler diets
|Total Methionine +Cystine||%||1.09||0.97||0.83|
|Digestible Methionine +Cystine||%||0.94||0.84||0.72|
Comprehensive information on broiler management and nutritional requirements of various poultry species can be found at a number of sites, including the Aviagen site (see different Brands, such as Ross 308 and Ross 708 and Tech Center where detailed guidelines for various breeds are available for download) and Cobb-Vantress site (see under Products to find broiler management guides and nutrient specifications for different breeds).