Response of Thai indigenous crossbred chickens to various dietary protein levels at different ages
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the protein requirement of Korat chicken (KRC), a slow-growing cross strain between the Thai indigenous fighting cock (Leung Hang Khoa) and the modern genotype females. Four periods were considered: from hatch to 21 days (phase 1), 22 to 42 days (phase 2), 43 to 63 days (phase 3), and 64 to 84 days of age (phase 4). A total of 3120 mixed-sex KRC were randomly allocated to 5 dietary protein levels containing 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23% with 2978 kcal of ME/kg (900 birds in phase 1); 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22% with 3151 kcal of ME/kg (780 birds in phase 2); 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20% with 3200 kcal of ME/kg (720 birds in phase 3); and 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19% with 3200 kcal of ME/kg (720 birds in phase 4) with 6 replicates in a completely randomized design. The results showed that BW, BW gain, average daily gain (ADG), and protein intake (P < 0.05) were increased with increasing dietary protein (P < 0.05) in all phases. However, FI, feed cost per kg of BW gain, energy intake, and blood urea nitrogen of chickens were not found to be significantly different among treatments. On the other hand, increasing dietary protein levels depressed the protein efficiency ratio of chickens from hatch to 21 and from 64 to 84 days of age (P < 0.05), and tended to decrease it from 22 to 42 (P = 0.08) and from 43 to 63 (P = 0.07) days of age as well. According to a broken-line regression analysis, the protein requirements of chickens from hatch to 21 and from 22 to 42 days of age for maximum BW gain were 21.26 and 20.45%, respectively. While the requirements of maximum responses for BW gain and FCR in the period of 43 to 63 days of age were 18.00 and 18.04%, respectively, and in the period of 64 to 84 weeks of age were 17.94 and 18.03%, respectively.
KeywordsCrossbred chicken Growth performance Protein requirement Slow-growing chicken
We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Pascal Mermillod, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA Nozilly, France), for his comments and valuable suggestions. We wish to express thanks to Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) for their research facilities and a scholarship from the Ministry of Science and Technology for Prapot Maliwan.
This research was financially supported by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) No. SUT3-303-58-36-06 and the Thailand Research Fund (TRF).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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