Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Anthony Pescatore


The study objectives of this thesis were to evaluate the effects of delayed feeding and specific aspects of the Programmed Nutrition (PN) feeding strategy (Alltech, Inc.) on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and skeletal characteristics of commercial broiler chicks through market age, as well as investigate the effects of breed and the PN feeding strategy on early growth and development. When commercial broiler chicks were fed reduced nutrient diets, delayed feeding decreased early growth performance and carcass yield (P<0.05), whereas post-hatch PN conditioning for 72 hours improved early growth performance and alleviated the negative effects of delayed feeding on carcass yield (P<0.05). Through market age, delayed feeding improved Gain: Feed (P<0.05), while PN had the opposite effect. Interactive effects and main effects of delayed feeding and PN were observed for tissue mineral concentration (P<0.05). PN lowered bone ash % (P<0.05) and increased meat oxidation of broiler chicks during storage (P<0.05). PN also had negative effects on early growth performance and bone breaking strength (P<0.05) of various meat-type breeds, but especially for non-commercial, moderate-growing or fast-growing breeds. In conclusion, PN may be suitable for commercial broiler chicks that experience delayed feeding and are fed reduced nutrient diets.