An experiment was conducted to study the effect of energy content of the diet and hatchery site on the occurrence of footpad lesions and growth performance of broilers.
The research was conducted under semi - field conditions with a total of 21,600 Ross 308 broilers. The broilers were originating from the same parent stock and were hatched at two different sites. The broilers received two four-phase feeding programs differing in energy content (energy content: 2750 vs. 2950, 2850 vs. 3050, 2900 vs. 3100 and 2900 vs. 3100 kcal/kg for starter, grower I, grower II and finisher diets, respectively). This resulted in four treatments (two hatchery sites x 2 dietary energy contents), and each treatment was replicated six times. The broilers were housed under standard Dutch field conditions.
Growth performance of broilers receiving the high energy diet program was better compared with broilers receiving the low energy diet program. Feed intake of broilers fed the low energy diets was higher in comparison to broilers fed the high energy diets which resulted in a higher feed conversion ratio because body weight gain was not affected. Broilers fed the low energy diets had more footpad lesions.
The hatchery site had no significant effect on the occurrence and severity of footpad lesions. However, the hatchery site did have an effect on performance results. Hatchery site had a significant effect on growth rate, feed and water intake. Feed conversion ratio and mortality were not affected by hatchery site.