This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Potential for Refeeding Syndrome in Broiler Breeders




Gould, Brendan

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Poultry Science


Sudden death at the initial point of lay in broiler breeders has long been an under-researched issue that results in a mortality of 0.5%-2% from 5%-30% egg production in breeder females. This mortality has been labeled as sudden death syndrome (SDS) in literature and has been characterized by low phosphorous and potassium concentrations. The goal of these studies is to show that, based on available evidence, the refeeding syndrome, rather than SDS, is the source of mortality at the initial point of lay in breeders. Two experiments were performed so that the potential for refeeding syndrome in breeder females could be determined. One experiment determined the validity of a hand-held glucometer as a tool for rapid serial blood glucose monitoring in maturing breeder females. The other experiment monitored plasma electrolyte concentrations in maturing breeder females to determine whether changes in feed intake produced changes in electrolyte concentrations indicative of the refeeding syndrome. From these experiments, it was determined that the glucometer is an acceptable tool for serial monitoring of blood glucose in chickens. Furthermore, it was determined that electrolytic shifts indicative of the refeeding syndrome occur within breeder females and that more research is necessary to determine if these shifts are evidence of a lager breeder welfare issue.