Super Pre-Starters: Clean Soy Concept and Some Basic Math

Ingredient Metrics

There is no substitute for getting animals off to a good start.  What happens early on in the growth phase sets the stage for later performance.  I attended and presented at a USSEC conference earlier this year and at the same event, Professor Ravindran from Massey University presented slide after slide on the negative effects associated with inadequate nutrition during the first few days of broiler feeding.  Intestinal architecture and breast muscle weight don’t recover in some situations, even though body weight can be the same at the end of production.  This means that the birds may only be recovering in terms of weight gain, but not in salable end product (chicken breast).

After the conference, I read about the “Clean Soy Concept” for early broiler diets (called “Super Pre-Starters” by the author).  While containing a lot of good information, the basic premise behind “clean soy” is one that we discuss here all the time – soy meals with properly-deactivated antinutritional factors.  High-shear dry extrusion effectively and predictably reduces these naturally-occurring antinutrients in soy to produce high-quality, protein and energy – rich meals (read this discussed in previous blogs here and here).

This got me thinking about the important early growth phase relative to the entire feeding period for a broiler.  I took some data from the paper I referenced above and performed some simple calculations.

The goal of the first 3 days of broiler production is to get the birds to consume >50 g of complete feed.  Let’s assume 30% of that is soy meal.  That’s 15 g of soy meal that the birds get to consume over the first 3 days of life.

Let’s also assume that the birds consume on average 90 g of complete feed per day, and that the total period of growth to market weight is 49 days.  Again, let’s keep 30% as an estimate of soy meal inclusion in the complete diet.  That comes to 1,323 g of total soy meal consumed per bird.

So, the first 3 days of production is only 1% of the entire soy meal consumption. Therefore, it is silly to focus on anything other than soy meal quality, with properly-deactivated antinutritional factors, during this phase of growth because it’s such a small part of the total.

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