Effect of supplemental Ascorbic acid and disturbance stress on the performance of broiler chickens
The study was conducted with four hundred day-old Anak broilers to determine the effects of dietary Ascorbic acid (AA) and disturbance (D) dress on the performance of broiler chickens in a tropical environment. There were four treatments consisting of two levels of disturbance (ID) and (4D) and two levels of dietary AA (0 and 250mgAA/kg feed). Each treatment was replicated four times with 25 chicks per replicate. The starter and finisher diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and isocaloric.
Results showed that there were no significant interactions between dietary ascorbic acid supplementation and disturbance stress levels on any of the performance data considered. The disturbance stress had no significant effects on most of the measured parameters. However, there was a 35% increase in mortality rate as disturbance stress level increased from ID to 4D.
The dietary ascorbic acid supplementation level had no significant effect on feed intake and weight gain. Feed conversion ratios were significantly improved with AA supplementation during the starter phase only. Dietary AA supplementation also had a 90% reduction in mortality of chicks compared with the unsupplemented group. Likewise AA inclusion in diets had a feed cost advantage.
It may be concluded that disturbance induced stress increased mortality and lowered performance. However these effects were relieved by dietary AA supplementation.
Keywords: Disturbance, Ascorbic Acid, Broiler Performance.