Optimizing energy and amino acids levels in meat chickens’ diet

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRO-015821

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Thursday, February 9, 2023

  • Project completion date: Monday, February 3, 2025

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 3-Contributing to efficient and secure chicken production systems


Typically, feed represents at least 70% of the total operational cost in meat chickens’ production. The prices of feed ingredients are continuously impacted by a variety of factors, some of which are unforeseen and unpredicted, such as weather conditions (floods and droughts), global crude oil market, geopolitical instability, import tariffs and even fluctuations in currency exchange rate. The increased use of poultry feed ingredients for biofuel production has also resulted in substantial increment in price of feed ingredients over the last decade. Strategic ingredient purchasing or adopting for alternative ingredients may to some degree assist in easing the pressure on finished feed costs. However, the most promising approach to minimize the impact of ingredients availability and pricing on finished feed/production costs is adjusting the density of the most expensive and key nutrients, ‘energy and amino acids’, in the diets for maximum production efficiency and economical return. Furthermore, understanding dietary formulation approach of amino acids and energy that promote optimal nutrient utilization will minimize nutrient output to the environment and as such assure the sustainability of meat chicken production in Australia.    

The present project will include four feeding studies to determine the interactive effects of dietary energy and amino acids density, to quantify optimal dietary nutrient levels in modern genotype broiler chickens for efficient and sustainable chicken-meat production under Australian conditions. The optimal dietary nutrient density will further be tested in Ross 308 and Cobb 500 straight-run broilers using different grain and fat sources.

Prior to each feeding trial the raw materials will be analyzed by near-infrared spectroscopy to predict proximate analysis, digestible amino acid concentrations, and AME using AMINONIR®PROX, AMINONIR®NIR, and AMINONIR® NRG (Evonik Nutrition & Care, Hanua, DE), respectively. Experimental diets will be developed and designed in close consultation with key poultry nutritionists in Australia to make sure that the conformation of the diets represents commercial diets.

This project will bring economic, environmental and social benefits. Chicken-meat is a staple in Australian diets with 90 % of the population eating chicken meat at least once a week, as a healthy, high quality and affordable source of animal protein. The meat-chicken industry in Australia has continuously been growing by an average of 3% every year, this reflects a projected cumulative growth of close to 25% by the end of this decade. The data set which will be generated from this project will assist nutritionists in Australia to formulate more cost-effective and environmentally friendly diets and make convincingly informed decisions when revising diets nutrient specifications in response to ingredients pricing and market volatility. The outcome of this project will improve feed efficiency, reduce feed and nutrient excretion, improve the industry resilience to market volatility and ultimately reduce feed cost to allow the industry to continue supplying consumers with high quality and affordable meat protein. 


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney