The need for growth promoting compounds in poultry meat production

Abstract
Modern strains of broiler chicken are capable of achieving a 2.4 kg liveweight at 42d of age. This extremely fast growth is accomplished in part by balanced diets containing pharmaceutical growth promoting compounds. Over the last few years, a number of ethical questions have arisen regarding the use of such compounds. Such fast growth rate is accompanied by reduced bird welfare related to morbidity and mortality of a proportion of the birds. In two trials we have shown that acceptable growth rate can be achieved in diets without these compounds, and that economics of production are not adversely affected. It is concluded that future management programs for broiler chickens should consider a tempering of growth rate and that this could lead to improved bird well-being.
Keywords poultry  nutrition  antibiotics  growth rate
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