University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Phase-feeding (PF) in broiler chickens has been researched as a way to reduce feed costs without reducing growth performance and yield. Predicted amino acid requirements for PF are generated using linear regression equations derived from best estimates of lysine (Lys), sulfur amino acid (SAA), and threonine (Thr) requirements. During the late starter and early grower periods, predicted requirements for the SAA methionine (Met) and cysteine (Cys) are higher than levels recommended by the National Research Council (NRC), and previous research suggests that SAA may be lowered during the grower period without sacrificing growth performance or yield. The objective of this study was to estimate Met and Cys requirements for broilers from 2 to 5 weeks of age. In Experiment 1, a Met-deficient corn-peanut meal diet was formulated to contain excess Cys, so that supplemental Met was not utilized for Cys synthesis. The basal diet for Experiment 2 met the Met requirement but was deficient in Cys. Graded levels of Met (0, 0.045, 0.09, 0.135, and 0.225%) and Cys (0, 0.035, 0.070, 0.105, 0.140, 0.175%) were added in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively, and diets were fed to five replicates of five broilers per pen. Broken-line analysis was used to estimate SAA requirements. The digestible Met and Cys requirements from 2 to 5 weeks of age were 0.33% and 0.31%, respectively. Requirement estimates were lower than those predicted by PF or recommended by NRC, indicating that lower SAA levels may be utilized in a PF program