Restriction of feed consumption and body weight in two strains of large white turkey breeder hens
Crouch, A.N.; Grimes, J.L.; Christensen, V.L.; Garlich, J.D.
Poultry Science 78(8): 1102-1109
Large White female-line turkey breeder hen poults (576) of two strains (N, female line and B, male line) were brooded by strain in floor pens from day of hatch until 3 wk of age (WOA). At 3 WOA, all poults were randomly distributed by strain to 48 floor pens in a curtain-sided house. Poults were feed (calorie) restricted beginning at 3 (N3, B3) or 6 (N6, B6) WOA to obtain a 45% reduction in BW at 16 WOA compared to ad libitum controls (NC, BC). At 16 WOA, all hens were gradually returned to ad libitum feeding. At 18 to 30 WOA, all hens were subjected to 8 h light/d. At 30 WOA, all hens were photostimulated with 15.5 h/d. Hens were inseminated weekly with semen from same strain, male-line breeder males. Eggs were collected daily, and all settable eggs from weeks of lay (WOL) 5 to 6, 10 to 11, 15 to 16, 20 to 21, and 24 to 25 were incubated by pen in a common incubator for each set date. Measurements included BW, feed consumption, egg production, mortality, egg fertility, egg hatchability, and poult weight. Statistical analysis of means was performed by strain. Target BW were obtained for feed-restricted hens. Restricted hens increased their feed consumption upon re-alimentation but did not achieve the cumulative feed consumption or BW of control fed hens by 56 WOA. Egg production of N3 hens was greater than NC hens for WOL 2 and 3. Total and settable eggs per hen were greater for N3 hens than for NC for WOL 1 to 5. There were no differences observed for egg weight, egg fertility, hatch of all eggs set, hatch of fertile eggs, or offspring weight among N hen treatments. The B0 hens produced more eggs than B3 or B6 hens. The B6 hens produced lighter weight eggs than B0 hens. It was concluded that early severe feed restriction of female line breeder hens might improve subsequent reproductive performance.