Organic Trace Minerals and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol Affect Performance Characteristics, Leg Abnormalities, and Biomechanical Properties of Leg Bones of Turkeys

Ferket, P. R.
Oviedo-Rondon, E. O.
Mente, P. L.
Bohórquez, D. V.
Santos, Anael A. Jr
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Leg problems and resulting mortality can exceed 1% per week in turkey toms starting at approximately 15 wk of age. Dietary supplementation of organic trace minerals (MIN) and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (HyD) may improve performance, decrease incidence of leg abnormalities, and increase bone strength. Nicholas 85X700 toms were assigned to 4 treatments consisting of a factorial arrangement of 2 concentrations of MIN (0 and 0.1% of Mintrex PSe, which adds 40, 40, 20, and 0.3 mg/kg of Zn, Mn, Cu, and Se, respectively) and 2 concentrations of HyD (0 and 92 μg/kg of HyD). Diets were formulated to be equal in nutrient content and fed ad libitum as 8 feed phases. Feed intake and BW were measured at 6, 12, 15, 17, and 20 wk of age. Valgus, varus, and shaky leg defects were determined at 12, 15, 17, and 20 wk of age. Tibia and femur biomechanical properties were evaluated by torsion and bending tests at 17 wk of age. There were no treatment effects on BW. Only MIN significantly improved feed conversion ratio through to 20 wk of age. Cumulative mortality at 3 wk of age was greater among the MIN birds, but it was lower by 20 wk (P = 0.085). The MIN decreased the incidence of varus defects at 17 wk of age; shaky leg at 12, 15, and 17 wk of age; and valgus defects at 15, 17, and 20 wk of age. There were no MIN × HyD interaction effects on individual gait problems. Maximum load and the bending stress required for tibias to break in a 4-point assay were increased with MIN supplementation, especially when HyD was also added. Maximum shear stress at failure of femoral bones in a torsion assay was increased by supplementation with both MIN and HyD together. Dietary supplementation of MIN and HyD may improve biomechanical properties of bones. Dietary MIN supplementation may improve feed conversion of turkeys, likely by decreasing leg problems.
Ferket, P. R., Oviedo-Rondón, E. O., Mente, P. L., Bohórquez, D. V., Santos, A. A., Jr., Grimes, J. L., Richards, J. D., Dibner, J. J., Felts, V. (2009). Organic trace minerals and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol affect performance characteristics, leg abnormalities, and biomechanical properties of leg bones of turkeys. Poultry Science, 88(5), 118-131.