Poultry Science Florida Agricultural
Mimeograph Series No. PY64-1 Experiment Station
200 copies Gainesville, Florida
THE EFFECT OF PRE-SLAUGHTER FEEDING OF SUCROSE TO
BROILERS ON WEIGHT GAIN, FEED CONVERSION. DRESSING
PERCENTAGE AND PALATABILITY OF MEAT
R.H. Harms, P.W. Waldroup and A.Z. Palmer2
The addition of sucrose to the finishing ration of swine has been re-
ported to increase dressing percent (Wilcox et al., 1953; and Combs et al.,
1959) and liver weight (Gibbons and Rose, 1950; Wilcox et al., 1953; Greenwood
et al., 1953; and Combs et al., 1959). It has also been reported that liver
desirability as determined by taste test was improved (Wilcox et al. 1953,
Greenwood et al., 1953; Combs et al., 1959). The pre-slaughter feeding of
sucrose to swine increased liver size but had no deleterious effect on dress-
ing percent even though sugar improved ration palatability and thereby
should have increased fill. (Palmer et al. 1961a, Palmer et al. 1961b, Palmer
et al. 1961c.) Livers from sugar fed pigs were more tender and sweeter than
control pig livers in an early study (Palmer et al. 1961a), but a later in-
vestigation (Palmer et al. 1961b) failed to confirm the finding. An increase
in the percent of four lean cuts of pork was reported (Palmer et al. 1961a)
but such an effect was not obtained in later studies (Palmer et al. 1961b and
Palmer et al. 1961c).
This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of pre-slaughter
feeding of sucrose to broilers on weight gain, liver weight, feed efficiency,
dressing percentage, water uptake during cooling, and palatability of cooked
One hundred and sixty, eight-week old Vantress X White Rock broilers
which had been receiving a complete broiler feed diet were used in this ex-
periment. They were randomized into 16 groups each containing five males
and five females, wingbanded, individually weighed and placed in pens in
grower batteries with raised wire floors.
Each of the two basal diets (Table 1) were fed to four pens of chicks.
These diets had 0 and 40 percent sucrose. Another four pens received a diet
composed of 60 percent of the basal control diet and 40 percent sucrose. The
remaining four groups received a diet composed of equal amounts of each basal
1The cooperation of J.W. Carpenter, Department of Animal Science and B.W.
Lester, Department of Poultry Science, throughout this study is acknowledged.
2 Harms, Poultry Husbandman; Waldroup, Ralston Purina Fellow, Department of
Poultry Science; Palmer, Associate Meat Scientist, Department of Animal
or a level of 20 percent sucrose.
TABLE 1: Composition of basal diets
Ingredients Sucrose basal Control basal
Oat hulls 5.11
Yellow corn 54.97
Soybean meal (50% protein) 43.22 33.33
Animal fat 4.70 4.70
Alfalfa meal (17% protein) 3.00 3.00
Defluorinated phosphate (18% P
and 34% Ca) 2.08 1.66
Ground limestone 0.59 1.04
Iodized salt 0.40 0.40
Micro-ingredientsl 0.90 0.90
SSupplied per pound of feed: 2,268 I.U. vitamin A, 10 mcg.
vitamin B12, 340 I.C.U. vitamin D3, 2 mg. riboflavin, 9 mg.
calcium pantothenate, 18 mg. niacin, 261 mg. choline chloride,
10 mg. terramycin, 57 mg. santoquin, 35 mg. manganous oxide, 9 mg.
iron, 0.9 mg. copper, 90 mcg. cobalt, 5 mg. iodine, 45 mcg. zinc
and 80 mg. manganese sulfate.
All birds were individually weighed 48 hours after being placed on
the experimental diet. Original weights were subtracted from final weight
to obtain weight gains. The amount of feed consumed during the 48 hour
period was determined, and grams of feed required to produce a gram of gain
All birds were processed and the dressing percentage calculated by the
Dressing percent = hot carcass wt. X 100
Livers were individually weighed and converted to percentage by the follow-
Liver percent = liver wt. X 100
The birds were then placed into slush ice for five hours, individually weighed
and water uptake calculated.
Three males and three females were randomly selected for use on deter-
mining palatability of the meat. The carcasses were broiled to an internal
temperature of 1800F. and rated for tenderness, juiciness and flavor com-
ponents of palatability by a three member panel on a 1 to 9 scale with five
being average and higher values more tender, juicier or more flavorful.
Statements of probability are based on analysis of variance according
to Snedecor (1956) with significant difference between treatment means
determined by Duncan's multiple range test (1955).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Broilers fed the sucrose basal (40% sucrose) or the control basal with
40 percent added sucrose had lower weight gains and poorer feed efficiency
than the birds receiving the other two experimental diets containing 0 and 20
percent sucrose (Table 2). The addition of sucrose to the feed resulted in
increasing liver weight. Those broilers receiving the control basal with 40
percent sucrose had significantly heavier livers than did birds receiving
the other three diets. The increased liver weight resulting from the sucrose
feeding agrees with previous reports with swine (Gibbons and Roxe, 1950;
Wilcox et al., 1953; Greenwood et al., 1953; and Combs et al., 1959).
Water uptake during the cooling period was not affected by composition
of diets (Table 2). Tenderness, juiceness or flavor of the broiler meat was
not affected by composition of the diet (Table 3).
These data would indicate that pre-slaughter feeding of sucrose to
broilers is not beneficial.
An experiment was conducted with eight week old broilers to determine
the effects of pre-slaughter feeding of sucrose to broilers. Results of this
experiment indicate that sucrose feeding at the higher levels (40 percent)
lowered rate of gain and feed efficiency during the pre-slaughter feeding
period. Sugar feeding increased the weight of livers but did not influence
dressing yield, water uptake during cooling or palatability of the broiled
TABLE 2: Average weight gain, liver weight (%), feed efficiency, dressing percentage and
broilers when fed diets containing various levels of sucrose for two days prior
water uptake of
Treatment Weight gains Liver weightI Gms. feed/ Dressed percentage' Water uptakel
(gms) (% of pre- gm. gainI (% of pre-slaughter (gas)
slaughter wt) wt)
Control basal M 137.0 2.08 67.5 37.5
F 107.2 2.21 2.30cd 66.7 34.1
Av 122.1ab 2.148 67.1 35.8
Sucrose basal M 123.0 2.32 67.7 36.7
(40% sugar) F 95.2 2.22 2.47d 67.2 35.2
Av 109.1 2.278 67.4 35.9
60% Control basal M 127.0 2.48 67.2 40.6
/ 40% sucrose F 86.1 2.66 2.97e 68.4 38.5
Av 106.5 2.57h 67.8 39.5
507 Control basal M 153.5 2.32 66.7 37.8
/ 50% sucrose basal F 120.7 2.09 2.13c 67.1 34.4
(20% Sucrose) Av 137.1a 2.208 66.9 36.1
Means having the same superscript do not differ significantly according to Duncan's Multiple Range
test (1955). Four replicates of five males and five females per treatment.
TABLE 3: Tenderness, juiciness and flavor of meat when broilers were fed
diets containing various levels of sucrose for two days prior to
Treatment TendernessI JuicinessI Flavor1
White Dark White Dark White Dark
Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat Meat
Control basal M 6.67 5.84 5.83 5.67 5.22 5.44
F 6.17 6.00 5.06 5.61 5.56 5.44
Av 6.42 5.92 5.45 5.64 5.39 5.44
Sucrose basal M 6.28 5.83 5.61 5.56 5.22 5,28
(40% sugar) F 5.77 6.00 4,89 5.67 5.28 5.22
Av 6.03 5.92 5.25 5.61 5.25 5.25
60% Control basal M 6.00 6.33 5.61 5.78 5.28 5.33
/ 40% sucrose F 5.78 6.28 5.11 5.38 5.50 5.39
Av 5.89 6.31 5.36 5.56 5.39 5.36
50% Control basal M 6.50 5.83 5.39 5.78 5.17 5.22
/ 50% sucrose (20% F 6.61 5.95 5.00 5.56 5.50 5.28
sugar) Av 6.56 5.89 5.20 5.67 5.33 5.25
Scoring rated by a three-member panel; scores ranged from 1 to 9 with
5 being average and the higher value being the more desirable. Three
males and 3 females used per treatment.
Combs, G.E., H.D. Wallace, J.W. Carpenter, A.Z. Palmer and R.H. Alsmeyer.
1959. Feeding performance and carcass characteristics of growing-
finishing swine fed "C" grade sugar. J. Animal Sci. Vol. 18, No. 4,
Duncan, D.B. 1955. Multiple range and multiple F tests. Biometrics, 11:
Gibbons, N.E. and D. Rose. 1950. Effect of anti-mortem treatment of pigs
on the quality of wiltshire bacon. Canadian J. Res. 28:438.
Greenwood, D.A., E.B. Wilcox, H. Steffen, L.E. Harris and L. Shupe. 1953.
Influence on animal carcass of feeding sucrose. Agr. and Food Chem.
Palmer, A.Z., H.D. Wallace and J.W. Carpenter. 1961a. The effect of pre-
slaughter feeding of sucrose to swine on slaughter, carcass and quality
characteristics. Ani. Husb. and Nutr. Mimeo. Series No. 61-6. Fla.
Agr. Exp. Sta., Gainesville.
Palmer, A.Z., H.D. Wallace and J.W. Carpenter. 1961b. Further observations
on the effect of pre-slaughter feeding of sucrose to swine. Ani. Sci.
Mimeo. Series No. 62-1. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta., Gainesville.
Palmer, A.Z., H.D. Wallace, J.W. Carpenter, R.L. Reddish and D.L. Huffman.
1961c. A comparison of methods of feeding swine during hold-over periods
before slaughter. Ani. Sci. Mimeo. Series No. 62-6. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta.,
Snedecor, G.W. 1956. Statistical Methods (5th Ed.) The Iowa State College
Press, Ames, Iowa.
Wilcox, E.B., M.B. Merkly, L.S. Galloway, D.A. Greenwood, W. Binns, J.A.
Bennett and L.E. Haines. 1953. The effect of feeding sucrose to beef
cattle and swine on the dressing percentage and quality of meat. J.
Animal Sci. 12:24.