R. Bras. Zootec.06/Jun/2019;48:e20180247.
Performance and carcass characteristics of broilers fed whole corn germ
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of including whole corn germ (WCG) on the performance; diet metabolizability; yields of carcass, cuts, and offal; and quality of meat of broilers. A total of 648 chicks were assigned to six treatments in a completely randomized design with six replicates, with 18 birds in each. Treatments consisted of a corn- and soybean meal-based control diet (0 g kg−1 WCG) and five test diets including WCG at the levels of 40, 80, 120, 160, and 200 g kg−1. Birds and diets were weighed at each seven days to determine feed intake (FI), body weight gain (BWG), and feed conversion ratio (FCR). The partial collection methodology was employed to determine the apparent metabolizable energy (AME), nitrogen-corrected AME (AMEn), and the apparent metabolizability coefficients of gross energy (AMCGE), dry matter (AMCDM), crude protein (AMCCP), and ether extract (AMCEE) of the diets. In the evaluation of meat quality, we analyzed the pH, cooking losses, shear force, water-holding capacity, color, and peroxide index of the meat. There was a difference for BWG and FCR in the total rearing period (1 to 42 days), for which optimum BWG was estimated as 2921 g/bird, with 118 g kg−1 inclusion of WCG. There was no difference for the AME, AMEn, and AMCCP of the diets, although AMCGE, AMCDM, and AMCEE declined as WCG was included. The increasing levels of WCG did not influence the yields of carcass and cuts or the meat quality. There was an increase in the yield of gizzard and proventriculus. Whole corn germ can be used at low levels in the diet of broilers without compromising their productive rates.