[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
A trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of different feeding programs on growth performance and carcass characteristics of Nicholas Large White female turkeys. Three different feeding programs were considered for a 12-wk period: 1) 3 diets fed for 4 wk each (starter 24% CP, grower 20% CP, and finisher diet 16% CP), 2) 2 diets fed for 6 wk each (starter-grower 22% CP and grower-finisher diet 18% CP), and 3) no change of diet for 12 wk (starter-grower-finisher diet 20% CP). From 0 to 4 wk of age, birds were fed an ad libitum common starter diet. Each dietary treatment was replicated 3 times, and feed and water were provided ad libitum. Body weight and feed consumption were measured every 2 wk, whereas carcass characteristics were evaluated at 16 wk of age. Feed intake increased as the frequency of dietary changes decreased, and feed conversion was not different between programs 1 and 3. There were no significant differences in final BW among experimental groups. For a single feeding program, the proportion of neck, bone, and feet decreased, and a greater percentage of edible meat was registered as compared with the other 2 groups. Mean carcass, breast, and thigh weights of turkeys reared under multiple diets were not different compared with other groups. Positive correlations were noted between live weight and weight of carcass, breast, thigh, drumstick, wing, and abdominal fat of turkeys. Thus, a single cycle feeding regimen in Nicholas Large White female turkeys results in similar growth performance and carcass characteristics compared with other conventional feeding programs considered in the present study.