Low protein diets

AgriFutures Australia funds research to identify the benefits of low protein diets for chicken meat production. In line with the priorities set by the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program RD&E Plan 2022-2027, supplementation of amino acids and the reduction of crude protein in chicken diets has the potential to increase bird welfare, reduce environmental impacts of chicken meat production, improve sustainability and reduce production costs.

Research into the potential for low protein diets in chicken meat production systems is crucial for improving the production of chicken meat, better understanding the feed requirements for chickens and contributing to the sustainability of the industry.

Research by The University of Sydney has investigated the importance of different amino acids in the diet of meat chickens and developed optimal protein ratios in their diets. This optimisation makes it possible for the industry to transition away from a heavy reliance on soybean meal without compromising chicken performance. Moving away from the industry’s reliance on soybean meal will be beneficial for limiting the impact of feed production on the environment and will reduce the economical strain of increasing soybean meal prices. This research has also linked a lower crude protein diet to reduced nitrogen and ammonia emissions, which subsequently improves litter quality in chicken meat sheds. These are important factors for improving welfare and the environmental impacts of poultry production. For more details, see the published journal article on the research project Progress towards reduced-crude protein diets for broiler chickens and sustainable chicken-meat production.

Other research relating to low protein diets funded by the AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program include:

For more information, see the articles on Making Chook Food: How research is helping the chicken meat sector find the perfect nutritional balance and AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat research goes global.