Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Thaxton, J. Paul

Committee Member

Vizzier-Thaxton, Yvonne

Committee Member

Corzo, Alejandro

Committee Member

McDaniel, Chrstopher

Committee Member

Scanes, Colin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Life Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Poultry Science


Commercial broiler chickens are withdrawn from feed prior to harvesting, transport and processing. This feed withdrawal period does not reduce carcass yield but is significant in reducing the potential for carcass contamination from undigested feed or fecal material that may remain in the digestive tract if feed is not withdrawn. However, withdrawing feed can result in an increase in bacterial contamination due to the decrease in physiological pH during fasting. Recently, consumers are more interested in how food animals are raised, prepared for, and processed. In response to these concerns, the feasibility of developing a “feed withdrawal” feed that could be provided to commercial broilers during the traditional feed withdrawal period was evaluated. The physiological effect of fasting during the feed withdrawal period is also not well understood. The focus of this study was to determine if feedstuffs that are readily accessible to commercial feed mills was evaluated to determine if body weight loss could be reduced and commercial broilers could be processed acceptably when allowed access to this feed during the traditional feed withdrawal period. In addition, the physiological response of commercial broilers at different ages to fasting was determined. The emphasis of this study was to determine the effect of fasting periods of commercial broilers on the hormones insulin and glucagon, circulating levels of glucose and body temperature compared to fulled birds. The results of this research suggests that a “feed withdrawal feed” that is available to commercial feed mills is feasible to allow commercial broilers access to feed during the traditional feed withdrawal period and still be processed with no contamination concerns. In addition, the impact of fasting on the hormones glucagon and insulin, circulating levels of glucose and body temperature were shown to be significantly changed during a fasting period.