Effect of Methionine Source and Dietary Crude Protein Level on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits and Nutrient Retention in Chinese Color-feathered Chicks

  • Xi, P.B. ;
  • Yi, G.F. ;
  • Lin, Y.C. ;
  • Zheng, C.T. ;
  • Jiang, Z.Y. ;
  • Vazquez-Anon, M. ;
  • Song, G.L. ;
  • Knight, C.D.
  • Received : 2006.04.07
  • Accepted : 2006.09.06
  • Published : 2007.06.01


A total of 1,200 LinNan Chinese color-feathered chicks were used to study the effects of methionine source [DL-2-hydroxy-4-methylthio-butanoic acid (HMTBa) or DL-methionine (DLM)] and dietary crude protein (CP) level on growth performance, carcass traits, and whole-body nitrogen and fat retention. The trial was designed as a $2{\times}2$ factorial arrangement, including two CP levels (adequate and low) and two methionine sources (HMTBa and DL-methionine). Diets were formulated for three phases, starter (0-21 d), grower (21-42 d), and finisher (42-63 d). Chicks fed HMTBa had higher daily gain and improved feed efficiency than DLM during the grower phase (p<0.05). A significant two-way interaction was observed for growth performance during the finisher phase and overall (0-63 d). Growth performance was greater for chicks fed HMTBa than DLM on adequate-CP diets (p<0.05), but this was not observed at low-CP level (p>0.05). Chicks fed low-CP diets grew slower, used feed less efficiently during the grower, finisher phase and overall. On d 42, regardless of dietary CP levels, birds fed HMTBa had higher carcass weights, breast and thigh weights than DLM-fed birds (p<0.04). Birds fed low-CP diet had lighter carcass weights and less breast muscle, thigh muscle, and dressing percentage at the end of starter, grower and finisher phases (p<0.05). Whole body composition analyses found that birds fed HMTBa tended to contain more protein and less fat compared to those chicks fed DLM at the end of the starter phase (p<0.10). Low-CP diets increased CP concentration in the whole body at the end of the finisher phase (p = 0.05). HMTBa supplementation increased whole-body N retention rate during the finisher phase and overall (p<0.01), and low-CP diets reduced N intake and whole-body fat retention during the finisher phase and overall (p<0.05). In summary, HMTBa was better than DLM on an equimolar basis for growth performance, carcass traits, and N retention in Chinese color-feathered chicks. Low-CP diets lowered growth performance as well as carcass traits in color-feathered birds, probably due to imbalanced AA profiles.


Chinese Color-feathered Chicks;Methionine Source;Dietary Crude Protein;Growth Performance;Carcass Trait;Nutrient Retention


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