LAHORE - Founder chairman of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Khalil Sattar has said that the chicken once considered a luxury has now become the cheapest source of animal protein in the country. He said today’s chicken diet mostly constitutes of corn, broken rice, wheat bran, corn by-products, oil seed meals, vegetable oil, etc.

“On the basis of rapid weight gain, the consumers would jump to the conclusion that they are fed hormones. If it were so, firstly, the FDA would lodge criminal cases against the producers, besides, the consumer would file suits of billions of dollars against such producers,’ he clarified.

So, he added, the weight gain in US in broilers is far greater than what it is in Pakistan without using any hormones. “Had the poultry industry in Pakistan using hormones, there would be a colossal import of hormones in the country duly reflected in the customs import figures as Pakistan produces over 1.2 billion broilers (meat type chicken) annually, placed at 11th largest producer in the world,” said Khalil.

He said he had not come across any publication showing any benefit of feeding hormones to the chicken. “Worldwide, there are only three major poultry genetic companies which are constantly doing research on improving the weight gain capacity, breeding for: disease resistance, improving digestive system for better absorption of nutrients to reduce feed cost,” said Khalil.

Founder chairman PPA said the poultry genetic companies have research departments which are actively involved in nutritional research to support the genetic capacity of the breed and also have departments to measure disease control capacity which is extremely necessary for producing most economical package.  “In the field of nutrition, a critically balanced diet is fed, formulated on a computer to give a balance between energy, protein and essential amino acids, such as Lysine, Methionine, Cysteine, Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Threonine, Valine, Arginine, etc.

“And in the scope of nutrition, vitamins such as Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, E, K, Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Choline Chloride, etc. and minerals such as, Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, Ferrous, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Cobalt, etc. are ensured to requirements, a deficiency or an imbalance of any one of the nutrients would defeat achieving the optimum genetic potential,’ said Khalil.

“The research carried out by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Canada has shown the evolution of growth in broiler production. They have shown that in 1957, a day old chick weighed 34 grams, in 1978 it weighed 42 grams and in 2005, it weighed 44 grams. Likewise, at 28 days, broiler weighed 316 grams, 623 grams and 1396 grams in 1957, 1978 and 2005 respectively. Currently, 2005 onwards it has been increasing at the rate of 2 to 3 percent per annum,” said Khalil. “Since there are only three major companies providing poultry genetic material, the chicken available in Pakistan is the same genetic package as is available in the US, Europe, India, Brazil, Argentine, China, and elsewhere in the world,” said Khalil.