The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary citric acid (CA) on the performance and mineral metabolism of broiler chicks. A total of 1720 Ross PM3 broiler chicks (days old) were randomly assigned to four groups (430 in each) and reared for a period of 35 days. The diets of groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 were supplemented with 0%, 0.25%, 0.75% or 1.25% CA by weight respectively. Feed and faeces samples were collected weekly and analysed for acid insoluble ash, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg). The pH was measured in feed and faeces. At the age of 28 days, 10 birds from each group were slaughtered; tibiae were collected from each bird for the determination of bone mineral density, total ash, Ca, P, Mg and bone-breaking strength, and blood was collected for the measurement of osteocalcin, serum CrossLaps(®), Ca, P, Mg and 1,25(OH)(2)Vit-D in serum. After finishing the trial on day 37, all chicks were slaughtered by using the approved procedure. Birds that were fed CA diets were heavier (average body weights of 2030, 2079 and 2086 g in the 0.25%, 0.75% and 1.25% CA groups, respectively, relative to the control birds (1986 g). Feed conversion efficiency (weight gain in g per kg of feed intake) was also higher in birds of the CA-fed groups (582, 595 and 587 g/kg feed intake for 0.25%, 0.75% and 1.25% CA respectively), relative to the control birds (565 g/kg feed intake). The digestibility of Ca, P and Mg increased in the CA-fed groups, especially for the diets supplemented with 0.25% and 0.75% CA. Support for finding was also indicated in the results of the analysis of the tibia. At slaughter, the birds had higher carcass weights and higher graded carcasses in the groups that were fed the CA diets. The estimated profit margin was highest for birds fed the diet containing 0.25% CA. Birds of the 0.75% CA group were found to have the second highest estimated profit margin. Addition of CA up to a level of 1.25% of the diet increased performance, feed conversion efficiency, carcass weight and carcass quality, but only in numerical terms. The addition of CA up to 0.75% significantly increased the digestibility of macro minerals, bone ash content, bone mineral density and bone strength of the broiler chicks. It may, therefore, be concluded that the addition of 0.75% CA in a standard diet is suitable for growth, carcass traits, macromineral digestibility and bone mineral density of broiler chicks.
© 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.