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The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of four dietary levels of L-threonine (0, 2.5, 5 and 7.5 g/kg) with or without Saccharomyces cerevisiae (SC) on performance, carcass characteristics, intestinal morphology and immune system of broiler chickens. A total of 360 1-d-old male broiler chicks were randomly allocated to eight treatments with three replicates of 15 birds. The experiment was done at 0 to 3 weeks (as starter phase) and 3 to 6 weeks (as grower phase). Growth performance traits including weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio were recorded at the end of each week. At the end of the experiment eight birds per treatment were killed and carcass analysis was done. Sampling for blood evaluation was done on 7, 28 and 42 days of age. Results of this study indicated that use of SC did not affect feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion ratio in chicks in contrast with the L-threonine. Use of L-threonine improved feed conversion ratio and gain of birds. Carcass traits were not influenced by dietary L-threonine and SC supplements. Use of L-threonine increased the intestinal morphology parameters such as crypt depth and villi height and width in both jejunum and ileum segments. On the other hand, villi height and width and crypt depth increased in both jejunum and ileum segments when dietary L-threonine increased. Effect of SC supplement on intestinal morphology was not significant. Results of CBC (cell blood counts) parameters, such as white blood cells, red blood cells, haematocrit and haemoglobin showed that these parameters were not affected by dietary treatments. Furthermore, the immune response (antibody titre) against Newcastle disease was not affected by SC on both 26 and 42 days of age. However, use of L-threonine influenced the chicks’ immune response at 42 days of age. Our results have shown that the supplementation of L-threonine as a source of dietary-threonine in combination with SC improved growth performance and intestinal morphology traits in broilers.
Keywords: Feed additive, growth, gut characteristics, bird