Effects of dietary anion-cation balance during starter period on performance, small intestine morphology, serum electrolyte level, and tibial mineralization in broiler chicks

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former M. Sc. Student, Animal Science Department, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, 66177-15175, Kurdistan, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Animal Science Department, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, 66177-15175, Kurdistan, Iran

3 Professor, Animal Science Department, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, 66177-15175, Kurdistan, Iran


This experiment was carried out to investigate the effects of starter period’s (1 to 10 d) dietary cation-anion balance on performance, tibia bone mineralization, serum electrolyte level, carcass characteristics and small intestine morphology. A total of 280 day-old broiler chicks of Ross 308 strain were used in a completely randomized design. Treatments consisted of five different level of dietary cation-anion balance (150, 200, 250, 300, and 350 mEq/Kg) and each of them replicated four times (14 birds per replicate). The results showed that feeding a diet with anion-cation balance of 350 mEq/Kg, significantly (P<0.05) reduced body weight and weight gain during starter and grower periods, feed intake reduced and feed conversion ratio increased during starter period. Dietary cation-anion balance had no significant effects on serum electrolytes, relative weight of carcass and gastrointestinal organs to body weight and intestinal morphology. Reducing dietary cation-anion balance level to less than 300 mEq/Kg had no significant (P>0.05) effects on tibia bone ash content, but significantly (P<0.05) reduced the phosphorus and calcium content of tibia ash at 21 and 42 days of age, respectively. In conclusion, the results indicated that maintaining appropriate dietary cation-anion balance during starter period (200 to 300 mEq/kg) is utmost important to achieve optimal broiler chicks’ performance.


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