How to Improve the Fertility and Hatchability in Broiler Breeders

Published on: 11/15/2020
Author/s : Sandro Cerrate, PhD / Credinser LLC, Madison, Alabama.

In some companies, fertility and hatchability start to decrease during the last weeks of production, for example after 50 weeks, at the same time there is a loss of feathers in the back or there is an overweight of the egg. How can we improve fertility and hatchability in the last phase of production of broiler breeders? To improve fertility and hatchability we must evaluate three important points...

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January 17, 2021
Dear Sandro
Thank you.
what is your recommendation for lysine and other amino acid levels in the last weeks of production?
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
January 18, 2021
Dear Mohammad,
The digestible lysine should be controlled as maximum levels up to 0.52% for hens after 44 weeks of age. When you reduced the digestible lysine, hens should have a maximum feed withdrawal of 5% at 60 weeks of age. So the feed intake and amino acid dietary balance should be linked because if you have a heavy feed withdrawal, said 10%, and you reduce lysine and other amino acids this will results in hens with poor feather covers. For this reason, the other amino acids should be placed as minimum values when you reduce the digestible lysine, why because the sulphur amino acids, arginine, and valine mainly will support the feather growth. Further check the egg weight, this should be no more than 70 grams at 60 weeks and also records the back feather quality since 40 weeks of age.
Hope this help.
If you need further assistance contact me at sbcerrate@gmail.com
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January 19, 2021
Dear Sandro
Thank you so much for your interesting article and valuable comments.
Reply
Youssef Attia Youssef Attia
Professor
February 10, 2021
Sandro Cerrate

Thank your for your interesting article, this is of added value to the early work done by Attia et al. (1994 and 1995) and Barmwell et al. and published In Poultry Science and here some examples

1. Attia, Y.A., W. H. Burke, Y. A. Yamani and L. S. Jensen, (1995). Energy allotments and performance of broiler breeders 1. Males. Poultry Sci. 74:247-260. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/15475636_Daily_Energy_Allotments_and_Performance_of_Broiler_Breeders_1_Males

2.Attia, Y. A., W. H Burke, K. A. Yamani. and L. S. Jensen, (1995). Energy allotments and performance of broiler breeders. 2- Females. Poultry Sci.74:261-270. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Youssef_Attia2/publication/15475637_Daily_Energy_Allotments_and_Performance_of_Broiler_Breeders_2_Females/links/5422b8760cf26120b7a3c4bd/Daily-Energy-Allotments-and-Performance-of-Broiler-Breeders-2-Females.pdf?origin=publication_list

3.Attia, Y. A., W. H. Burke, K. A. Yamani and L. S. Jensen, (1993). Energy allotments and performance of broiler breeder males. Poultry Sci. 72.:42-50. https://academic.oup.com/ps/article-abstract/72/1/42/1489528?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Reply
March 22, 2021
Sandro Cerrate
Thanks for your content, please specify what flock and breed you are talking. Because nutrient requirements and breeding management of broiler and laying flocks are different.
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
March 22, 2021

Dear Akbar Yaghobfar thanks for your question. The level of 0.52% of digestible lysine for breeder 3 is for almost all broiler breeder lines. Except for broiler breeders that produce high breast meat yield such as Cobb 700 and Ross 708, for these hens the digestible lysine and all amino acids can be increased and without egg overweight.
Hope this helps,
Best regards.

Reply
January 23, 2021
Very insightful
Thank you very much
Reply
January 25, 2021
Dear Sandro,
What is your recommendation in improving the fertility and hatchability in a senario where the males are over weight?
Reply
Serdar Özlü Serdar Özlü
PhD, Animal Science
January 25, 2021
What is the practicability of the Spikig or intra-spiking application in your flock?
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
January 29, 2021

Serdar Özlü Thanks for your question.
With a poor rooster management, reduced hen feather quality, and egg oversize, one flock might drop the fertility in around 20% or more. Indeed, spiking and intra-spiking might increase the fertility between 3% and 5%, after 35 weeks of age, however, this will not recovery the heavy reduction of fertility (-20%) in your flock.

Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
January 29, 2021
Asif Cheema Thanks for your question. Yes sure, there are other ways to improve the fertility/hatchability through a male and female nutrition, hatchery, and management in general. Believe, the male management, hen feather cover, and egg size are the main driving force to improve the fertility.
Reply
Asif Cheema Asif Cheema
M.SC. (Honors) A.H- Nutrition
January 29, 2021

Thanks a lot for the valuable suggestions. What are the other ways to improve the fertility and hatchability?


Reply
Carlos Augusto Borges Carlos Augusto Borges
Nutricionista
February 2, 2021

Dear Sandro Cerrate,

My name is Carlos Borges I am a Nutritionist and I work with consultancy ( C Borges Consultoria)here in Brazil.
My PhD thesis was on “Nutritional Requirements of Protein and Energy for Breeding Roosters in the Production Phase”
During the work that was quite long, because we worked with the roosters still in the breeding and before mating and we took the experiment until 62 weeks of age we reached the following conclusions:

- Currently, it is justified to use a specific diet for breeding males that meet the nutritional requirements of energy, protein and amino acids in the production phase.
- The lack or excess of protein for breeding roosters during the production period mainly affects the quality of the semen (motility and vigor) and decreases the fertility of the flock
- Excessive energy consumption increases the body weight of breeding roosters making them obese and, consequently, leading to both physical and mechanical infertility.

We evaluated the quantitative (volume and sperm concentration) and qualitative (motility and vigor) characteristics of semen from breeding rooster from 27 to 62 weeks of age, concluded that the consumption of 17 g of protein/rooster/day was the most adequate to supply the needs of breeding males in the production phase.
And the consumption of 360 kcal of metabolizable energy/rooster/day was enough to meet the energy requirements for broiler breeders in the same period.

It is important to note that the experiment was carried out in boxes with 1 rooster for 10 hens with natural breeding.

Reply
Jose J. Bruzual Jose J. Bruzual
Médico Veterinario
February 3, 2021
Carlos Augusto Borges Carlos, were those roosters in the floor or in cages? Thank you
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
February 3, 2021
Thanks Carlos for sharing your thesis dissertation results. Indeed, your study helped me to analyze the protein and energy requirement.
Using your study and other 6 studies showed that protein requirement is linearly related to the age of the roosters. Meaning that at 24 weeks the protein requirement is around 12 g/day and at age 61 weeks 20 grams/day, this equation had a R^2 equal to 0.88.
On the other hand, using four studies, included your thesis, showed that the energy requirement is also linearly related to the age: at 33 weeks around 330 kcal/day and at 54 weeks 360 kcal/day. This linear relationship was not strong, R^2=0.33, but the slope significant than zero.
The general message is that protein and energy requirement are age dependent, and increases as roosters age. These results help as reference, indeed, to know the trend. Why? because the protein intake or energy intake are linked to the feed intake, and the feed intake to match a specific body weight profile changes for many reason such as as environment, physical activity, type of diets, and management in general.
To be more specific, if a field or research trial found a particular protein and energy requirement, these nutrient will work great and accurately in a poultry farm if the client uses the same conditions that the field or research trial were evaluated.
Reply
Talaat Mostafa  El-Sheikh Talaat Mostafa El-Sheikh
T. M. El-Sheikh Prof. Dr. of Poultry Production, Head of Animal & Poultry Prod. Dept.
February 3, 2021
Carlos Augusto Borges
You mentioned that the consumption of 17 g of protein/rooster/day was the most adequate to supply the needs of breeding males in the production phase.And the consumption of 360 kcal of metabolizable energy/rooster/day was enough to meet the energy requirements for broiler breeders in the same period.
How much the feed consumption per day?
How much the % of CP and Met.Energy of the ration?
Reply
Dimcho Djouvinov Dimcho Djouvinov
Animal Nutritionist
February 3, 2021
Dear Carlos,

I appreciate that you have specified the daily amounts of protein and energy for matching roosters' requirements.
Reply
Carlos Augusto Borges Carlos Augusto Borges
Nutricionista
February 4, 2021

Dear, Sandro Cerrate,

I fully agree with your statement that the ideal would be to work with different rations respecting the age and body weight of the rooster, this also serves for the female because the maintenance requirement will vary according to body weight and physical activities and in the case of female still producing eggs. However, in practice, this is almost impossible due to problems in the feed mill and logistics. I am saying this because I have worked with broiler breeders for over 30 years and worked as a Nutritionist for 11 years at one of the largest broiler and swine production companies in Brazil.
To answer the question from a colleague who wants to know about feed intake/rooster/day and nutritional levels in the period of production indicated:

Approximately 133 g of feed/rooster/day with 12.5% CP and 2,700 kcal of metabolizable energy in the diet.

I want to remember that my thesis was done with males and females in boxes (floor), therefore with natural mounts and with a ratio of 1 male to 10 females.

Reply
Martin Smith Martin Smith
Animal Nutritionist
Evonik Animal Nutrition Evonik Animal Nutrition
Rellinghauser, Hessen, Germany
February 11, 2021

Dear Dr. Cerrate. Very interesting article, thank you. I think the section on egg size and amino acid balance needs discussion. I agree that the ONLY way to achieve better results is to ensure the supply of balanced Standardised Digestible amino acids is correct. I disagree that lysine is the main driver of egg size; this is actually methionine + cysteine, the sulphur-containing amino acids (SAA). As most poultry diets are based on maize and soya, SAA are usually first limiting. Furthermore, the concept that there is a link between breast muscle growth and egg size is not correct. Finally, excess levels of lysine will NOT result in higher breast muscle growth. First, in a mature animal like a broiler breeder, muscle growth is primarily determined by genetics and activity, not nutrient supply; and second, as soon as any other amino acid becomes limiting, excess lysine will simply be de-aminated and excreted. The correct approach would be physical feed restriction or rebalancing all nutrients to a lower level.

Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
February 11, 2021

Martin Smith Thanks for your comments. This is a great input and let me explain more. In practical diets for broiler breeders the methionine (M) and cysteine (C) are limited and most diets cover the minimum requirements. And flocks fed with levels of M+C that match the requirements shows egg oversize. Why? In practical diets of broiler breeders the digestible lysine is above the requirements, meaning the synthetic lysine is almost not used in breeders diets, except in the pre-starter pullet diets, said this, the excess of lysine coming from the ingredients produces egg oversize and big muscle yield. Sure, in practical diets other amino acids along with lysine such as isoleucine and leucine for example are also at high levels when lysine is above the breeder requirements using corn and soybean meal. On the other hand, I did a review with 13 review-papers that show the amino acids requirements using synthetic amino acids in broiler breeders. In this analysis, the most important amino acids that reduced the egg size was the M+C (1.1 g), lysine (1.2 g), and valine (-1.6g). However, they also reduced the egg production, first was the M+C (-6.6%), then Lysine (-4.0) and then Valine (-2.0). This is reducing at 25% less of the AA requirements. I did lab and field studies, and they indicate that the breast meat and egg size correlate strongly. See the studies of Dr. Coon;s lab that I participated on them, specifically Ekmay's paper. As broiler breeder hens age, the lysine from the eggs coming from lysine of the muscle increases; we did this study using labeled amino acids. Further, working in the field with broiler breeders, I used a device to measure the angle of breast meat in vivo. In flocks with more angle meaning more breast meat, the hens layed bigger egg size. Further, when we touched the breast meat of hens from egg oversize, the flesh was harder, like a rock. In contrast, in hens from smaller eggs, the breast meat was softer by palpation. After this observation, I measured by a durometer, the harness of the breast meat in live hens, and indeed they reported higher numbers, meaning hens with egg overweight also had harder breast meat. With clients I see the same output: when the lysine is reduced to match the breeder requirements, the egg size was reduced and hatchability improved. I agree with you also that egg size is also determined by the genetic. There are lines that tend to produce a larger egg size than other. Further, another important point is the level of egg production, flocks with poor egg production tend to produce larger egg size. Hope this helps in the discussion. And best regards.

Reply
Kazem Yussefi Kazem Yussefi
Animal Nutritionist
February 20, 2021
Sandro Cerrate
exactly true
Reply
April 14, 2021
Martin Smith, yes .methionine first limiting and it matters egg size .
Reply
February 14, 2021
Pls 0.25lysine and 0.25 methionine is OK in formulation 100kg feed broiler start grow layer mash
Reply
Zahed Abbasi Zahed Abbasi
VETRINARIAN
February 16, 2021

Dear Sandro Cerrate:
Thanks so much the article is very useful in practice usually I use canola meal or sunflower meal with soybean meal in rearing after 4 week of age and in production period in broiler breeder farm and calculate the amino acids as digestible according to genetic company recommendation and obtain tow good result :
1- The good feathering and persistency of feather in production period.
2- The good egg size that always is equal to genetic company or 1 gram below it.
Because of the effect of sodium deficiency in feather peaking calculate it to about 0.18% by using sodium bicarbonate in diet.
As you know formulation the feed for Rooster only with corn+soybean meal and wheat bran is wrong because of high soluble fiber in it, hence using canola or sunflower meal will facility to
formulate the Rooster diet and good fertility in them.
I agree white you the high level of lysine is detrimental for production and hatchability regardless of this reality that it is a ketogenic amino acid, high level of it will increase the size of breast of hens and mating with these hens will be difficult by Rooster because cloaks cant contact together and void of semen not occur.

Reply
March 22, 2021
Zahed Abbasi
Thanks for the content you need to respond to the content as follows:
"As you know formulation the feed for Rooster only with corn + soybean meal and wheat bran is wrong because of high soluble fiber in it, hence using canola or sunflower meal will facility to formulate the Rooster diet and good fertility in them."
Let me inform you that the insoluble fiber amount in the diet is more than the solution fiber, and this may lead to the excretion of trace elements in the feed, and ultimately lead to deficiency and even reduction in egg size, fertility and quality of chickens, and ultimately safety issues for broilers.
Reply
February 17, 2021

Your thesis and practical work will help the formulation of our feeds for optimum growth and output, kudos!

Reply
Munawar Ali Munawar Ali
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
February 27, 2021
Dear Dr Sandro

What are your comments about Aviagen recommendation of Broiler Broiler Breeder Ration 1
upto 36 and Ration 2 upto 50 weeks and Ration 3 after 50 weeks.

Best Regards
Munawar
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
February 27, 2021
Dear Munawar,
The time of moving a new breeder diet will depend on egg size more than age of hens. When hens lays eggs with a weight of 60 grams, the diet is changed from breeder 1 to breeder 2; and when the egg size reaches 65 grams, the breeder diet is changed from breeder 2 to breeder 3. For example, in some flocks those target egg size, 60 and 65 grams, usually are reached at 33 and 44 weeks of age, respectively.
Hope this help, best regards.
Reply
Munawar Ali Munawar Ali
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
February 27, 2021
Dear Dr Sandro
Thanks for your practical comments.
I have another question
When we switch from Ration 1 to Ration 2 generally production drops. Can you guide please
Reply
Sandro Cerrate Sandro Cerrate
Animal Nutritionist
February 27, 2021
Dear Munawar,
Please contact me to my email: sbcerrate@gmail.com. So I can help on that particular situation.
Best regards
Reply
Zahed Abbasi Zahed Abbasi
VETRINARIAN
March 22, 2021

Hi Dr. Akbar Yaghbi:
Thank you for your comment about using insoluble fiber in rooster feed. I like to inform you it will be as the amount of sunflower or canola meal is allowed not more and will be used in combination with others like soybean meal and wheat bran. And because of this the amount of the insoluble will remind in acceptable percent that not interfere whit absorption of other nutrients like micro mineral as you mentioned.
Despite this refer you to ROSS recommend in using some material like sunflower and canola in AVIAGEN site in feeding broiler breeder.
And I like to inform you as Aviagen recommendation it is a long time I use them and obtain best result in rearing and production period, feather covering, fertility, hatchability and best chick quality not only in broiler breeder but also in layer breeder.
And you know that insoluble fiber in poultry nutrition is regarded as a nutrient and must be in feed formulation and has good effect in retention time and digestion and absorption of nutrients.

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May 2, 2021
Yes
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