The effects of feed restriction and ambient temperature on growth and ascites mortality of broilers reared at high altitude

ÖZKAN Ş. S. , Takma C., Yahav S., Sogut B., Turkmut L., Erturun H., ...More

POULTRY SCIENCE, vol.89, no.5, pp.974-985, 2010 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 89 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.3382/ps.2009-00293
  • Journal Name: POULTRY SCIENCE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.974-985


The development of ascites was investigated in broilers at low versus high altitudes, cold versus normal ambient temperatures (AT), and 3 feeding regimens. One-day-old chicks obtained at sea level were reared at high altitude (highA; 1,720 m; n = 576) with 2 AT treatments, low AT from 3 wk onward at highA (highA/cold) and normal AT from 3 wk onward at highA (highA/norm), or at sea level (normal AT from 3 wk onward at low altitude, lowA/norm; n = 540). Under highA/cold, AT ranged between 16 to 17 degrees C in the fourth week, 17 to 19 degrees C in the fifth week, and 19 to 21 degrees C thereafter. Under highA/norm and lowA/norm, AT was 24 degrees C in the fourth week and ranged between 22 to 24 degrees C thereafter. Broilers in each condition were divided into 3 groups: feed restriction (FR) from 7 to 14 d, FR from 7 to 21 d, and ad libitum (AL). Ascites mortality and related parameters were recorded. Low mortality (0.4%) occurred under lowA/norm conditions. Under highA/norm, mortality was lower in females (8.6%) than in males (13.8%) and was not affected by the feeding regimen. The highA/cold treatmentresulted in higher mortality but only in males; it was 44.2% among highA/cold AL-fed males and only about 26% under the FR regimens, suggesting that FR helped some males to better acclimatize to the highA/cold environment and avoid ascites. However, mortality was only 13.3% in AL-fed males at highA/norm and FR did not further reduce the incidence of ascites under these conditions. Thus, avoiding low AT in the poultry house by slight heating was more effective than FR in reducing ascites mortality at highA. Compared with FR from 7 to 14 d, FR from 7 to 21 d did not further reduce mortality and reduced growth. At 47 d, the majority of surviving broilers at highA had high levels of hematocrit and right ventricle: total ventricle weight ratio (>0.29), but they were healthy and reached approximately the same BW as their counterparts at low altitude. This finding may suggest that in broilers reared at highA from day of hatch, the elevation in hematocrit and in right ventricle: total ventricle weight ratio happens gradually and therefore is not necessarily indicative of ascites development.