Can Bis-Chelated Trace Minerals Help with Woody Breast?
by Bob Buresh, Ph.D., Executive Technical Services Manager
Delivering a high-quality, target-weight broiler to the processing plant is the goal of poultry production. If an entire carcass or carcass parts are condemned or downgraded, it is a financial hardship for the producer and processor. Condemnation or downgrading can be caused by a variety of issues, from field-caused health situations to management or even mechanical issues at the processing plant.
Myopathies like woody breast condition have become more common in recent years, gaining attention from producers, processors and consumers as a lower-quality chicken product. Breast meat quality such as toughness is the key characteristic of woody breast, which results in consumers being less than pleased with the final product. Breast meat affected by woody breast is not usually condemned by USDA plant inspectors, but quality assurance personnel at plants typically downgrade this meat, using it for other, lesser-value meat products.
It’s estimated that the U.S. poultry industry loses $200 million annually to condemnations and downgrades of breast meat due to woody breast1.
The potential causes of woody breast are being researched globally. Scientists have hypothesized this condition is related to:
- Genetic line changes
- Bird size
- Rapid growth rate
- Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are molecules containing oxygen that can react with other molecules and cause tissue damage.
Researching Woody Breast
There is no consistent solution for preventing woody breast, but several interventions have been successfully implemented to support breast meat quality at processing.
Research trials2 were conducted at NOVUS to investigate the impact of feeding bis-chelated trace minerals to decrease the severity of woody breast in broilers. Trace minerals are known to support structural health in poultry and bis-chelated trace minerals, with their high bioavailability. Thanks to the defined and consistent structure that provides mineral stability in the digestive tract, have been shown to support meat and bone quality.
The trial results3 showed that including bis-chelated trace minerals in the broilers’ rations significantly lessened the incidence of severe woody breast with an average decrease of 44% when compared to broilers fed inorganic trace minerals.
To learn more about woody breast and feeding your broilers bis-chelated trace minerals, contact your nutritionist or a NOVUS representative today.
- White striping and woody breast myopathies in the modern poultry industry: a review; VA Kuttappan, BM Hargis, CM Owens – Poultry Science, 2016 – Elsevier