Small bird programs: Effect of phase-feeding, strain, sex, and debone time on meat quality of broilers

V. B. Brewer, J. L. Emmert, J. F.C. Meullenet, C. M. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phase-feeding (PF) has been effective in maintaining broiler growth while reducing production cost, but the effect on different broiler strains grown in a small-bird production scenario has not been assessed. The objective of this study was to evaluate 3 commercial broiler strains typically used in a small-bird production scenario to assess the effect of various debone times and PF on yield and meat quality. Birds (n = 1,080) were fed either diets with average industry nutrient levels or diets with phased levels of amino acids. In total, 540 birds were commercially processed at 40 and 42 d of age. Breast fillets were harvested at 2, 4, and 6 h postmortem (PM). Muscle pH was measured at the time of debone and fillet dimensions, instrumental color (L*, a*, and b*), and pH were measured at 24 h PM. Fillets were cooked to 76°C and cook loss was calculated, followed by Meullenet-Owens Razor shear (MORS) analysis. Phase-feeding, strain, and sex had little effect on fillet yield, but deboning at 2 h PM resulted in a higher fillet yield compared with that of later debone times. Strain, sex, and debone hour had significant effects on fillet dimensions, with strain A producing longer and wider fillets than strains B and C. Males had larger fillets than females (longer and wider), whereas deboning early resulted in significantly thicker fillets compared with those of later deboning. There were no differences in fillet dimensions due to PF, however, uniformity was improved. The PF treatment did not affect pH, color, cook loss, or MORS energy. Deboning at 2 h PM resulted in higher MORS energy, indicating decreased tenderness in 2 of the strains, whereas in one strain, tenderness was not affect by debone time. Results of this study suggest PF does not adversely affect yield or meat quality of broilers in small-bird programs but strain, sex, and debone time can affect quality. Results also suggest that strain can effect tenderness of breast fillets when deboned prerigor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalPoultry science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Broiler
  • Meat quality
  • Phase-feeding
  • Shear
  • Yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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