The aim of this study was to follow-up the physiological variations in the development of the bone tissue, associating them with the egg production curve. This study was carried out in the facilities of the Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia of the UNESP, Botucatu, Brazil. Twenty-three families of Ross broiler breeders were used, each family consisting of 13 females and 1 male, distributed in 23 pens of 5.0m² each. The management was that recommended by the genetic company manual (Agroceres Ross, 2003), with daily feeding until 6th week of age; and birds were fed according to a 5:2 schedule (5 days fed, 2 days of fasting) between 7 and 17 weeks of age, returning to daily feeding starting at 18 weeks of age. Birds did not receive afternoon calcium supplementation. On the fourth week of rearing, 84 females were removed for bone analyses of the right tibia and femur, using optical densitometry in radiographic images technique. These analyses were sequentially carried out in 4, 8, 12, 15, 20, 24, 30, 35, 42, 47, and 52 week-old birds. The egg production curve of the birds was followed-up and associated to bone mineral density results. For bone mineral density evaluation (BMD) birds were divided by weight categories as light, intermediate, or heavy within each data age. BMD values of the tibias were not influenced by weight range, but by the age at collection. On the other hand, interactions were found among femur BMD values and weight and age categories. There was no correlation between eggshell quality and femur BMD. A negative correlation (-0.15) was observed between tibia BMD and eggshell percentage. It was possible to conclude that the egg production has little influence on bone mineral density of the birds probably because there was no need of bone mineral mobilization during the production period, since the observed egg production was below that observed under commercial conditions.
This study was carried out at Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil, and evaluated bone quality in broiler breeders. Twenty-three families of Ross broiler breeders were housed in 5.0-m² pens. The families were comprised of 13 females and one male at the onset of the experimental period. The mean number of females per family was 9.34 at the end of the trial. The feeding program and management followed strain guidelines (Agroceres Ross, 2003). Bone analyses were performed in the right tibia and femur using optical radiographic densitometry at 4, 8, 12, 15, 20, 24, 30, 35, 42, 47 and 52 weeks of rearing. Trap nests were used to collect eggs from the breeders two weeks before and after the evaluation weeks. At each evaluation day, five birds were sacrificed after radiographs were taken and the tibias and femurs were collected to perform the following analyses: fatfree dry matter, ash percentage, bone resistance and Seedor index. Therefore, it was possible to establish correlations between bone quality and eggshell quality. Characteristics of bone quality were highly correlated to each other; on the other hand, there were no correlations between bone quality and external egg quality. In conclusion, there was no effect of egg production on egg quality, possibly because there was no reabsorption of bone minerals.