Performance, meat quality, meat mineral contents and caecal microbial population responses to humic substances administered in drinking water in broilers
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1. This study was conducted to examine the effect of different levels of humic substances (HS) administered in drinking water on caecal microflora and mineral composition and colour characteristics of breast and thigh meats and the growth performance, carcass and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) traits of broiler chicks. 2. A total of 480 3-d-old broiler chickens were randomly allocated to 4 treatments with 4 cages per treatment and 30 bird (15 males and 15 females) chicks per cage. All birds were fed on commercial basal diet. The control birds (HS0) received drinking water with no additions, whereas birds in the other treatment groups received a drinking water with 7.5 (HS7.5), 15.0 (HS15.0) and 22.5 (HS22.5) g/kg HS. Mush feed were provided on an ad libitum basis. Body weight and feed intake of broilers were determined at d 0, 21, and 42, and feed conversion ratio was calculated. On d 42, 4 broilers (2 males and 2 females) from each cage were slaughtered and the breast and thigh meats were collected for mineral composition and quality measurements. 3. Performance, carcass and GIT traits and caecal microbial population of broiler chicks at d 42 were not affected by the dietary treatments. The lightness (L*) of breast and thigh meat decreased in broilers supplemented with 15 and 22.5g/kg HS in drinking water. Although the redness (a*) of breast meat increased, yellowness of thigh meat decreased in broilers supplemented with 15 and 22.5g/kg HS in drinking water (P<0.05). 4. In conclusion, the 15 and 22.5g/kg HS administration in drinking water can be applied for broiler chicks to maintain growth performance and improve meat quality without changing caecal microflora.