Early feeding to modify digestive enzyme activity in broiler chickens


Milagro León T
Gerardo Garrido G
María Castañeda D
Emma Rueda de A


Objective. To evaluate the effect on digestive enzyme activity in broiler chickens by providing food in the first 48 hrs. after birth. Materials and methods. After incubating 300 fertile eggs from Hubbard breeding and immediately after hatching, the chicks were randomly assigned to treatments: fasting (from hatching to 48 hrs.); Hydrated Balanced Food (HBF) from birth to 48 hrs.; commercial hydrating supplement (CHS) from birth to 48 hrs. The diets were provided ad libitum. After 48 hrs. a commercial diet was fed. At birth and at 48 and 72 hrs. of age 30 chicks/treatment were sacrificed to determine the enzyme activity of maltase, sucrase, alkaline phosphatase, phytase, a-amylase, trypsin and lipase in samples of duodenal or pancreatic homogenate. Results. The supply of HBF or CHS during the first 48 hrs. of life increased the activity of maltase, sucrase and phytase in the first 3 days of life, with values between 1.2 and up to 4-fold compared to the control (p<0.05). Chickens that fasted for the first 48 hrs. had higher activity of the pancreatic enzymes a-amylase, trypsin, and lipase at 72 hrs. of life (p<0.05). Conclusions. The food supply in the first 48 hrs. after hatching increases the duodenal enzyme activity in the intestinal brush border during the first 3 days of age in broiler chickens.

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