Objective: Heat stress poses an increasing threat for poultry production. Some amino acids have been found to play critical roles in affording thermotolerance. Recently, it was found that in ovo administration of L-leucine (L-Leu) altered amino acid metabolism and afforded thermotolerance in heat-exposed broiler chicks. Methods: In this study, two doses (35 and 70 μmol/egg) of L-Leu were administered in ovo on embryonic day 7 to determine their effect on rectal temperature (RT), body weight (BW) and thyroid hormones at hatching. Changes in RT, BW, and thermotolerance in post-hatched chicks were also analyzed. Results: It was found that in ovo administration of L-Leu dose-dependently reduced RT and plasma thyroxine (T4) level just after hatching. In post-hatched neonatal broiler chicks, however, the higher dose of L-Leu administered in ovo significantly increased RT without affecting BW gain. In chicks that had been exposed to heat stress, the RT was significantly lowered by in ovo administration of L-Leu (high dose) in comparison with the control chicks under the same high ambient temperature (HT: 35°C±1°C, 120 min). Conclusion: In ovo administration of L-Leu in a high dose contributed to an increased daily body temperature and afforded thermotolerance under HT in neonatal broiler chicks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology