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1. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of crude protein (CP) concentration and dietary electrolyte balance (DEB) on growth performance, processing yields, litter quality and foot pad dermatitis (FPD) in male turkeys from two commercial hybrids. Soya bean meal was replaced by vegetable protein sources selected for lower K concentrations to lower DEB in order to improve litter quality and subsequent quality of foot pads. 2. Effects of CP on litter friability and wetness were not consistent during the production period. FPD in turkeys fed on diets with low CP was significantly lower than FPD in turkeys fed on diets with high CP until 84 days. Growth performance was adversely affected at low CP. Processing yields were not affected by CP. 3. Litter was significantly dryer in pens of turkeys fed on diets with low DEB than in pens of turkeys fed on diets with high DEB. FPD in turkeys fed on diets with low DEB was significantly lower than in turkeys fed on diets with high DEB. Growth performance and processing yields were adversely affected at low DEB. 4. FPD in turkey hybrid A was higher than in turkey hybrid B at 28 days of age. Thereafter, no differences in FPD between turkey hybrids were observed. Growth performance and processing yields were not affected by turkey hybrid. 5. Overall, a significant interaction effect of CP x DEB was observed for FCR: in turkeys fed on the high DEB treatment, FCR of turkeys fed on the high CP diets was lower than FCR of turkeys fed on the low CP (LCP) diets whereas on the low DEB treatment, FCR was not affected by CP treatment. 6. It was concluded that litter quality can be improved and FPD may be decreased in turkeys fed on diets containing lower CP and DEB levels.
- Journal Article