Feed restriction of turkey breeder hens--a review
Hester, P.Y.; Stevens, R.W.
Poultry Science 69(9): 1439-1446
Past research on feed restriction methods with turkey breeder hens has involved the feeding of 1) high-fiber or low-energy diets, 2) low dietary protein, 3) limited quantities of feed, 4) rations on a skip-a-day program, 5) distasteful compounds, or 6) combinations of these methods. In general, feed-restricted turkey breeder hens showed a reduction in BW and a delay in sexual maturity at time of lay with no effect on fertility, hatchability of fertile eggs, and hatchability of all eggs set. Egg weight was unaffected in 13 studies, but decreases and increases were reported for two and three studies, respectively. The results on egg production and feed efficiency (number of eggs/unit of feed) were more variable. Egg production decreased, increased, or had no effect in 6, 2, and 14 of the feed restriction programs, respectively. Feed efficiency of restricted hens either was poorer (two reports), improved (three studies), or had no effect (six studies). The larger parent-stock breeder candidate of today may not respond to these feed restriction programs in the same manner as the breeder hens of the 1970s and early 1980s. Most likely, more severe feed restriction programs will have to be designed to lower the BW of these larger hens.