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Aspects of food intake restriction in young domestic fowl: metabolic and genetic considerations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

I. Nir
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Sciences, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot, 76100, Israel
Z. Nitsan
Affiliation:
Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
E.A. Dunnington
Affiliation:
Animal and Poultry Sciences Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0306, USA
P.B. Siegel
Affiliation:
Animal and Poultry Sciences Department, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0306, USA
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Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on the response of young domestic fowl to various food restriction patterns. Emphasis has been given to anatomical, endocrine and immunological factors and their interactions with the genetic background. Under restricted feeding (limitation of the amount or time of access to food) chickens learn quickly to ingest the allocated quantity of food within a short period of time. When exposed to a single sequence of food removal and restoration, body weight losses are reduced for non-adapted compared with adapted individuals, for light breeds compared with heavy breeds, and for older compared with younger chickens. Adaptation to food restriction includes increased capacity and slower evacuation of the gastrointestinal tract (mainly the storage organs) to increase the supply of nutrients during the periods of food deprivation; increased hepatic lipogenesis and glycogen synthesis during the feeding cycle; and decreased heat loss on days of food deprivation. Synthesis and secretion of digestive enzymes in response to intermittent feeding has been found to be population dependent and consistent with the hypothesis that the amount of intestinal chyme mediates the synthesis and excretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Numerous hormones are directly or indirectly involved in the metabolic responses to food restriction. Hyperinsulinaemia, increased plasma levels of growth hormone, triiodothyronine, thyroxine and plasma prolactin have been observed after the reintroduction of full feeding. It is suggested that the altered hormonal environment induced by food restriction contributes to a metabolic situation that may enhance immunocompetence.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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