Sulfur amino acid requirement and cystine replacement value of broiler chicks during the period three to six weeks posthatching

David H. Baker, Sergio R. Fernandez, Douglas M. Webel, Carl M. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three experiments were conducted with commercial broiler chicks to determine the SAA requirement during the growth period 3 to 6 wk posthatching. A 20% CP corn-peanut meal basal diet (3,200 kcal MEn/ kg) was analyzed to contain 0.23% Met and 0.28% cystine. True digestibility assessment in cecectomized cockerels revealed that Met and cystine in the basal diet were 81 and 75% digestible, respectively. Therefore, the basal diet contained 0.19% digestible Met and 0.21% digestible cystine. When fully fortified with DL-Met, growth rate and feed efficiency of chicks fed the cornpeanut meal diet were equal to that of chicks fed a 20% CP Met-fortified corn-soybean meal diet. In the SAA requirement assay, Ross x Hubbard male chicks were fed graded increments of DL-Met (0.03%) and L-cystine (0.03%) to achieve digestible SAA concentrations of 0.40, 0.46, 0.52, 0.58, 0.64, and 0.70%. Weight gain and feed efficiency responded quadratically (P < 0.01) to increasing doses of SAA. The estimated requirement for maximal feed efficiency was higher than that for maximal weight gain. Both visual appraisal and curve fitting procedures suggested a requirement of close to 0.61% digestible SAA. When extrapolated to a corn-soybean meal diet where SAA true digestibility is 87.5%, the total SAA requirement calculates to be 0.70% of the diet. However, because commercial corn-soybean meal diets typically contain supplemental Met, which is only 81% efficient (wt:wt) in furnishing cystine, the estimated total SAA requirement for chicks fed 20% CP Metfortified corn-soybean meal diets with 3,200 kcal of ME/ kg would probably approximate 0.72% of the diet. A DL-Met vs L-cystine supplementation assay suggested that digestible cystine can supply no more than 52% of the total requirement for digestible SAA of chicks during the 3- to 6-wk growth period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-742
Number of pages6
JournalPoultry science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996


  • Broiler chick
  • Cystine
  • Methionine
  • Requirement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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