Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 83, Issue 3, pp 239-249

First online:

Dietary nickel improves male broiler (Gallus domesticus) bone strength

  • James H. WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • , Edward J. WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • , Paul L. RuszlerAffiliated withDepartment of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

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The effects of dietary nickel (0, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 150 mg/kg) on the bone strength characteristics and performance parameters of male broilers were investigated. Broilers were housed in either cages or floor pens. At 6 wk of age, the shear fracture energy of the tibia from the caged birds increased when the basal diet was supplemented with 25 mg of dietary nickel per kilogram of feed. The shear force, stress, and fracture energy of the radius from the caged birds also increased at 25 mg/kg nickel. Dietary nickel had no effect on bird body weight, but the caged broilers (2161 g) were heavier than the floor birds (2005 g). Nickel had no effect on the strength characteristics of the tibia from the floor birds. Percent tibia bone ash, a measure of bone density, was not influenced by dietary nickel, but the tibia ash of the floor birds was greater than that of the caged birds. Overall, the data indicates that adding 25 mg/kg of dietary nickel to a poultry diet will have a positive influence on bone strength characteristics and performance.

Index Entries

Nickel shear force shear stress broilers trace elements