Arkansas Conference: Insight into broiler breeder nutrition

In contrast to egg layers, broiler breeders require a bit more energy and a bit less protein.

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Broiler breeder pullets have unique energy and protein requirements and they need their own nutrition program

Lean broilers come from lean parents, but these parents must not be as lean as their progeny because they live a different life that is longer and with different requirements. Thus, broiler breeders need some extra fat, which we so much decry in live broilers (although we are all guilty of eating greasy charbroiled or fried chicken skin – buffalo wings, anyone?).

Meredith Johnson, the editor of Egg Industry Insight, attended the Arkansas Nutrition Conference 2021 and was kind enough to forward to me a brilliant paper from the proceedings. The reference, description, and link to obtain this document are at the bottom of this blog. I referred briefly on the concluding remarks of this paper previously, but after some careful studying, there was something else that caught my attention.

The author of the paper, Dr. David Burnham, made a clear distinction about how nutritionists should feed broiler breeder pullets to assure they enter reproduction with adequate reserves. In contrast to egg layers, broiler breeders require a bit more energy (being heavier) and a bit less protein. In essence, they need their own nutrition program. According to the good doctor, in some cases, when energy is lowered during pullet rearing, protein and amino acids are not decreased proportionally. This creates over-fleshed adult breeders that will require an unnecessary amount of protein and amino acids for the rest of their productive lives to support this extra musculature. Using the correct-for-age ratio of energy to protein (amino acids) remains crucial.

Here’s the citation for more in-depth study of this enlightening conversation:

Burnham, David J. (2021) “Practical Pullet and Breeder Nutrition,” Proceedings of the Arkansas Nutrition Conference: Vol. 2021 , Article 6. Available at:

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