Effect of Qualitative and Quantitative Feed Restriction on Growth Performance and Immune Function in Broiler Chickens

Jang, I.S.;Kang, S.Y.;Ko, Y.H.;Moon, Y.S.;Sohn, S.H.

  • Received : 2008.09.10
  • Accepted : 2009.01.20
  • Published : 2009.03.01


The current study was conducted to investigate the effect of early feed restriction (FR, 8 to 14 d of age) on growth performance and immune function in broiler chickens. Birds were fed corresponding diets from 3 to 35 d of age, which consisted of three phases: starter (3 to 7 d of age), FR (8 to 14 d of age) and re-alimentation (15 to 35 d of age) phases. During the FR period, each group of birds was fed the basal diet ad libitum (CON), 85% (EN85) and 70% (EN70) of lower calorie diet ad libitum (qualitative FR), and 85% (FI85) and 70% (FI70) of voluntary intake on a daily basis (quantitative FR). As a result, there was no statistical difference in weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio between the CON and quantitative or qualitative FR groups during the entire (3 to 35 d) periods. In particular, the EN85 group resulted in a significant (p<0.05) increase in weight gain compared with the EN70, FI85 and FI70 groups. Plasma total protein and albumin at 14 d of age (during FR) were significantly (p<0.05) lower in the quantitative and qualitative FR groups, but these parameters at 35 d of age (after re-alimentation) were higher (p<0.05) in the EN85 and EN70 groups than in the CON group. Plasma IgG level was unaffected by dietary FR procedure. In cytokines, there was no significant difference in the expression of lymphocytic IL-4 and IFN-${\gamma}$ at 14 d of age between the FR and the CON groups, whereas lymphocytic IL-6 and iNOS expression were significantly (p<0.05) lower in FI85 and FI70 groups. Moreover, lymphocytic iNOS was also significantly (p<0.05) lower in birds fed qualitative and quantitative diets compared with those fed ad libitum. In the thymus, IL-4 expression was higher (p<0.05) in FI85 and FI70 groups, whereas IL-6 expression was lower (p<0.05) in the FI85 and FI70 groups than in the CON group. Thymic iNOS was significantly (p<0.05) lower in birds fed qualitatively and quantitatively restricted diets compared with those fed ad libitum. At 35 d of age, there was no difference in the expression of IL-4, IL-6 and IFN-${\gamma}$ of lymphocytes and thymus between the FR and CON groups. In conclusion, 85% of quantitative and qualitative FR would have a beneficial effect on the expression of some cytokines including IL-4 and iNOS without change in growth performance of birds.


Broiler Chickens;Qualitative;Quantitative;Feed Restriction (FR);Growth Performance;Immune;Cytokines


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