The effect of dietary alterations on growth, productivity, behaviour and preference of broiler breeder females.
This thesis is an investigation of dietary alterations, including the addition of fibre and an appetite suppressant (alternative diet) and the use of a skip-a-day (SAD) feeding regime, which may reduce hunger. Broiler breeders are severely feed restricted to limit growth, leading to symptoms of chronic hunger. We used behavioural indices, feather condition scoring and preference tests were used to compare satiating properties of the diets. Alternative diets reduced symptoms of hunger such as feather, object and aggressive pecking and resulted in better feather condition. Although SAD birds feather pecked more during feeding bouts, SAD birds still had better feather condition than daily birds. Preference testing revealed no differences in dietary preference, implying a lack of preference, or a methodological flaw. However, no aversion to the alternative diet was evident. Alternative diets, regardless of feeding frequency, may be the best option for bettering the welfare of growing broiler breeders.