Temperature, arginine or GAA intake in broilers
The aim of this experiment was to study the interactive effect of rearing temperature and dietary supplementation of arginine (Arg) or guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) on performance, gut morphology and ascites indices in broiler chickens raised under the same condition in the first 2 weeks and then reared under normal (23-26°C) or subnormal (17°C) ambient temperatures for the next 3 weeks. This experiment was conducted as a split plot with 900 Ross 308 male broiler chicks that were allocated to two houses (as main plots); each consisted of 5 treatments (as sub-plots) with 6 replicates of 15 birds. The 5 diets were (1) control, (2) control + 0.60 g/kg GAA, (3) control + 1.20 g/kg GAA, (4) control + 0.86 g/kg Arg and (5) control + 1.72 g/kg Arg. Feed intake (0-35 d) of birds fed on a diet containing 1.2 g GAA/kg and reared under normal temperature was reduced compared to control fed birds. Birds fed on a diet containing 1.72 g/kg Arg and reared under subnormal temperature had higher weight gain compared to those fed on control or GAA-added diets in overall study period. Supplementation of diets with Arg alleviated the adverse effect of cold stress as reflected by reduction in blood haematocrit (41% vs. 37%), and right ventricle to total ventricle ratio (0.28 vs. 0.25) at 35 d of age. Addition of Arg to the diet of birds reared under cold stress resulted in a higher jejunal villus surface area compared to those fed on control or GAA-added diets. Findings of this study revealed that Arg or GAA supplementation of diets did not affect performance of birds under normal temperatures, but Arg supplementation of the diet significantly alleviated the adverse effect of cold stress on performance, gut development and ascites syndrome. In addition, GAA supplementation at 1.2 g/kg improved jejunal villus surface area in birds raised under subnormal temperature.