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Journal of Animal Health and Production

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Research Article


Effect of Dietary Supplementation of Chromium Yeast Alone and in Combination with Antioxidants on Performance of Broilers


Zulfqar ul Haq1, Ravinder Jain1, Javid Farooq2, Imran Ahmad Ganai2, Gowhar Gull3, Nazam Khan4

1Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science & A.H., NDVSU, Mhow (M. P.) 453446, India; 2Mountain Research Centre for Sheep & Goat, Shere Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shuhama; 3Division of Animal Nutrition, SKUAST-K; 4Division of ILFC, F.V.Sc and A.H., SKUAST-Jammu, India.


Abstract | The present study was conducted to evaluate the impacts of dietary supplementation of chromium yeast alone and in combination with antioxidants on growth, feed conversion and nitrogen retention in broilers during winter season. A total of 180, Cob-400 straight run broiler chicks at one day-old, were randomly distributed into four equal groups replicated three times with 15 birds per replicate. The treatments consisted of 4 experimental groups as follows: T0, T1, T2 and T3. Chicks were fed corn-soya based broiler mash (basal diet) maintained as control (T0), the basal diet supplemented with chromium (Cr)at 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet from chromium yeast (T1), the basal diet + 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet from chromium yeast + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet (T2), and the basal diet + 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet from chromium yeast + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet (T3). Body weight and feed consumption were recorded to evaluate the growth performance and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Nitrogen retention was observed by conducting metabolic trial during 6th week. The climatic data revealed that there were huge variations in house air temperatures within a day. In house relative humidity ranged from 29.01% to 44.21% during the experimental period. The average weight gains were numerically higher and FCR values were lower in supplemented groups particularly in T2 group than T0 group. The significantly higher (p< 0.05) nitrogen retention values were recorded in T2 group followed by T1than T0 group. It was concluded that Cr in combination with ascorbic acid yielded better results in terms of performance in broilers, thus suggesting some synergetic action of both Cr and ascorbic acid that need to investigate further with specially designed projects.


Keywords | Ascorbic acid, Broiler, Chromium, Growth, Nitrogen retention, Vitamin E


Editor | Asghar Ali Kamboh, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Pakistan.

Received | October 22, 2017; Accepted | December 12, 2017; Published | December 24, 2017

*Correspondence | Zulfqar ul Haq, Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary Science & A.H., NDVSU, Mhow (M. P.) 453446, India; Email:

Citation | Haq Z, Jain R, Farooq J, Ganai IA, Gull G, Khan N (2017). Effect of dietary supplementation of chromium yeast alone and in combination with antioxidants on performance of broilers. J. Anim. Health. Prod. 5(4): 159-164.


ISSN (Online) | 2308-2801; ISSN (Print) | 2309-3331

Copyright © 2017 Haq et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




Metabolism of glucose in birds is considerably different from mammals while blood glucose concentration is much higher in birds and insulin levels are low (Brooks et al., 2016). Birds as compared to mammals are considered to be less sensitive to insulin (Scanes, 2009) and effect of chromium to enhance insulin sensitivity in mammals is well documented (Vincent, 2001). Heat or cold stress increase circulating concentrations of corticosterone in broilers and it is well documented that corticosterone reduces insulin sensitivity in broilers (Zhao et al., 2009). Poultry is reared in open side houses in most of the tropical countries like India which results in huge temperature variation in shed (Rajkumar et al., 2011) causing stress which results in increased demand of antioxidant supplementation. Since cooling of poultry houses (environment control) is very expensive thus methods are focused on nutritional modifications (Attia et al., 2015) like search of new feed additives along with their different combinations to increase the performance of birds naturally. Stress increases mineral and vitamin mobilization from tissues and their excretion (Siegel, 1995), thus may exacerbate a marginal vitamin and mineral deficiency or an increased mineral and vitamin requirement. It has been reported that the negative effects of environmental stress could be prevented by the use of some minerals and vitamins supplements such as vitamin C and chromium (Sahin and Sahinm, 2001; Sahin and Kucuk, 2001). Chromium is postulated to function as an antioxidant (Farag et al., 2017, Kholy et al., 2017) and its deficiency can disrupt carbohydrate, protein metabolism along with impaired growth rate (Pagan et al., 1995). Though birds do not require any dietary vitamin source as it can synthesize vitamin (Pardue and Thaxton, 1986) reported that particular environmental stressors could alter ascorbic acid utilization or synthesis in poultry. It is well documented that under stress conditions such as low or high environmental temperatures, humidity and high productive rate ascorbic acid synthesis is inadequate (McDowell, 1989). Poultry cannot synthesize vitamin E thus vitamin E requirements must be met from dietary sources (Chan and Decker, 1994) in case of increased demand in stress. Vitamin E is a biological chain-breaking antioxidant that protects cells and tissue from lipoperoxidative damage induced by free radicals (McDowell, 1989). Sahin et al. (2002) reported that broilers supplemented with dietary chromium and vitamin E significantly alleviated the heat stress related decrease in performance suggesting that additional supplementation into diets may be necessary under stress conditions in growing birds.


As per available literature scanty work has been done on combination of chromium yeast alone and in combination with ascorbic acid and vitamin E. In this view, the present experiment was designed to study the effect of dietary supplementation of chromium yeast alone and in combination with antioxidants on feed conversion, growth and nitrogen retention in broiler chickens during the winter season.




Experimental Design

One hundred eighty day old Cobb-400 broiler chicks of comparable body weight were equally distributed into four treatment groups viz. T0, T1, T2 and T3. Each treatment group contained forty five chicks with three replicates of fifteen birds in each. The diet (Table 1) was maize-soybean-based broiler mash was formulated as per BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards, 1992) specifications to meet the nutrient requirements of broilers. The standard starter mash (0 - 3 weeks) and finisher mash (4 - 6) were fed. Chicks were fed corn-soya based broiler mash (basal diet) maintained as control (T0), the basal diet supplemented with chromium at 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet from chromium yeast (T1), the basal diet + 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet from chromium yeast + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet (T2) and the basal diet + 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet from chromium yeast + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet (T3).


Table 1: Composition of broiler mash (%)


Ingredients Starter Mash Finisher Mash
Maize 56.2 62.5
Soybean meal 37.6 31.3
Vegetable oil 2.0 2.0
Dicalcium Phosphate 2.6 2.6
Calcite 1.0 1.0
Trace mineral mixture * 0.2 0.2
Salt 0.4 0.4

Other supplement (g/100 kg)

Vitamin premix** 25 25
Methionine 155 34
Lysine 63 17
Choline Chloride 60 60
Maduramicin 50 50
Toxin binder 100 100

Nutrient analysis of broiler starter and finisher mash

(% DM)

Nutrients Starter mash Finisher mash
Dry matter 93.78 93.02

Crude protein

22.84 20.61
Ether extract 4.14 4.56
Crude fiber 3.73 3.44
Nitrogen free extract 63.12 64.98
Total ash 6.17 6.41
Calculated ME (kcal/kg) 2888



*1 Kg contains Mn 90 g; Zn 80 g; Fe 90 g; Cu 15 g; I 2.0 g and Se 300 mg.

**500 gm contains Vit.A 12; 50 MIU; Vit.D3 2.80 MIU; Vit.E 30.00 g; Vit.K 2.00 g; Vit.B1 2.00 g and Vit.B2 2.00 g.


Data Collection

The maximum and minimum in house air temperature and relative humidity were recorded daily during the 42 day experimental period (5th February to 17th March) by thermo-hygrometer and temperature humidity index (THI) was calculated. Record of weekly feed offered and weekly feed leftover from different treatment groups was maintained. The data obtained was used for the calculation of weekly feed consumption of broilers in each treatment groups during particular week. Body weight of individual chick was recorded using digital weighing balance at day one and thereafter at weekly interval till six weeks of age and weekly body weight gain was calculated. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated from weekly feed consumption and body weight gain. At the end of fifth week, three birds (one from each replicate) from each treatment group were randomly selected for metabolic trial which


Table 2: Mean weekly in house air temperature, relative humidity and temperature humidity index


Weeks Mean in house air temperature (°C) In house relative



humidity index

Minimum Maximum Avg. house air





22.58ab ±0.48

35.50 ab ±1.44

20.98 ab ±0.36




21.24a ±0.32

39.21b ±2.73

19.94a ±0.25




22.17a ±0.61

44.21b ±2.33

20.84ab ±0.56




22.25a ±1.0


21.05ab ±0.95




24.1b 7±0.63

35.35ab ±3.42

22.26b ±0.59




24.84b ±0.61

29.01a ±1.54

22.48b ±0.51


Means bearing different superscripts (a,b,c) in column differ significantly (P<0.01).


Table 3: Effects of treatments on feed consumption (g) of broilers


Weeks Groups






122.88 a±0.41

123.64 a±0.32

126.13 b±1.02

123.62 a±0.70

2# 298.33±1.35 302.91±4.65 305.31±4.08 300.12±1.16
3# 673.85±3.53 672.70±7.89 672.77±6.11 682.13±2.07
4# 908.77±11.21 831.39±15.15 863.30±23.23 842.79±8.26
5# 1035.33±0.99 1033.95±25.89 1058.95±4.95 1046.79±15.32

1114.81 b±2.89

1125.75 b±4.61

1138.48 b±8.37

1086.39 a±6.04


Mean bearing different superscripts (a,b) in row different significantly (P<0.05)*,(P<0.01)** and # Non significant.

T0= Control; T1 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet; T2= basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet; T3 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet


Table 4: Effects of treatments on feed conversion ratio of broilers


Weeks Groups





1 1.89±0.03 1.79±0.02 1.84±0.01 1.86±0.03
2 1.68±0.02 1.66±0.029 1.66±0.01 1.66±0.03
3 2.17±0.05 2.18±0.01 2.11±0.05 2.22±0.04
4 2.30±0.21 1.92±0.01 2.04±0.10 2.02±0.01
5 2.13±0.04 1.85±0.14 1.81±0.02 1.89±0.11
6 2.16±0.02 2.13±0.02 2.06±0.08 2.15±0.17
Average 2.05±0.25 1.92±0.26 1.92±0.25



#Non significant difference was recorded for weeks 1 to 6.

T0= Control; T1 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet; T2= basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet; T3 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet


was conducted for 5 consecutive days for determining the nitrogen retention collected at 24 hourly basis. During metabolic trial, daily record of feed offered, feed left over and faeces voided was maintained and used for nitrogen analysis as per AOAC (1990).


Statistical Analysis

The data generated throughout the experimental period was analyzed statistically by applying the Completely Randomized Design to study the effect of treatment on various parameters (Snedecor and Cochran, 1994). The climatic data regarding in-house air temperature and humidity was analyzed using RBD to study the weekly variations (Snedecor and Cochran,1994).




The climatic data revealed that there were huge variations in temperature within a day (Table 2). The difference between minimum and maximum temperature in a day from morning to evening was more than double during the experiment. The maximum average in house air temperature

of 37.77°C was recorded during 6th week and minimum of 11.52°C in 5th week. The data of in house relative humidity


Table 5: Effects of treatments on body weight gain (g) of broilers.


Weeks Groups





1 64.89±1.34 68.48±0.93 68.15±0.55


2 176.89±3.53 181.54±2.40 183.73±3.18 180.17±4.25
3 310.71±6.79 308.11±2.11 318.31±11.22 307.35±7.32
4 394.22±3.23 432.11±6.14 424.44±15.57 416.97±3.82
5 484.78±9.42 566.44±17.67 584.80±5.21 556.24±31.95
6 509.17±11.18 502.82±7.95 552.54±25.58



#Non significantdifference was recorded for weeks 1 to 6.

T0= Control; T1 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet; T2= basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet; T3 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet


Table 6: Effects of treatments on total nitrogen intake, excretion and retention of broilers


Group Nitrogen intake** (g) Nitrogen excretion (g) Nitrogen retention* (g) %Nitrogen retention*






















Mean bearing different superscripts (a,b,c) in column different significantly (P<0.05)*, (P<0.01)** &# Non significant

T0= Control; T1 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr/kg diet; T2= basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg of ascorbic acid /kg of diet; T3 = basal diet supplemented with 0.5 mg Cr /kg diet + 250 mg vitamin E /kg of diet


depicts gradual increase from 35.50% at first week to 44.21% at 3th week thereafter gradual reduction in relative humidity was recorded and it was 29.01% at 6th week and THI ranged from 19.94 (2nd week) to 22.48 (6th week). As THI exceeds 20.4°C, broilers show reduced performance and increased variability in performance metrics (Purswell et al., 2012). These variations in the environment are indicator of imposing environmental stress on birds. Environmental temperature varies in many regions of the world during winter months and such conditions cause adverse effects on intake, nutrient digestibility and feed efficiency in poultry (Sahin, 2001). Environmental stress causes deficiency of chromium and vitamin C due to increased chromium mobilization from tissues and its excretion, also depresses ascorbic acid synthesis for poultry (NRC, 1997), thus justifying the use of chromium and antioxidants.


Feed consumption in general did not exhibited much significant difference among all treatment groups with exception of 1st and 6th week wherein T2 group supplemented with chromium and ascorbic acid reflected significantly (P<0.05) higher feed consumption in 1st week (Table 3). In 6th week T3 (chromium + vitamin E) supplemented groups recorded the lowest (P<0.01) feed intake due which the values became statistically significant but rest groups had no significant difference between them. The results are in agreement with Anandhi et al. (2006); Suksombat and Kanchanatawee (2005); Noori et al. (2012) except in the 1st week that exhibit a significant increase in T2 group, and in 6th week that exhibit a significant decreased in T3 group for feed consumption.


FCR among the treatments were recorded as 2.05, 1.92, 1.92 and 1.97 for To, T1, T2 and T3 groups respectively with non-significant difference (Table 4). However supplemented groups had lower FCR than the control group and T1 and T2 recorded same FCR. Toghyani et al. (2006); Chaudhari et al. (2006); Anandhi et al. (2006) and Suksombat and Kanchanatawee (2005) however, observed the non-significant effect on weekly feed conversion ratio in the chromium supplemented broilers and their observations are in tune with present findings. The findings of present experiment were found contrary to Samanta et al. (2008) who observed the significantly improved feed conversion ratio in broilers at 2nd, 3rd and 5th week, however, Kaoud (2010) observed increased feed conversion ratio only at 3rd week in broilers.


The mean weekly live body weights at 6th week were 1981.85, 2100.50, 2160.53 and 2044.97g in T0, T1, T2 and T3, respectively (Table 5). An extra weight of 178.68 g/bird was recorded in group T2 followed by 118.65 g/bird in T1 and 63.12g/bird in T3 as compared to control group in 6th week. However, all the supplemented groups recorded numerically higher weights than control but difference between groups was statistically not significant. There were no significant differences in mean weekly gain in body weight. However numerically the average weight gain of all the supplemented groups was higher than control and chromium and ascorbic acid combination recorded maximum gain than other groups. Similar findings of non-significant gain in body weight in broilers have been reported by supplementation of organic chromium (Liarn, 1993; Anandhi et al., 2006).


The results of metabolic trial indicated average nitrogen retention values of 63.46, 69.24, 71.85 and 67.84% in T0, T1, T2 and T3 group, respectively (Table 6). The observation revealed significantly higher nitrogen retention in all supplemented groups than control group. The higher nitrogen retention was recorded in T2 group followed by T1, T3 and T0 (control) group. The results are suggestive of the fact that the dietary chromium yeast supplemented groups exhibited superior nitrogen retention than control group and it was maximum (71.85%) in chromium yeast plus ascorbic acid supplemented (T2) group. Amatya et al. (2004) also reported significantly (P<0.05) increased crude protein metabolizability in chromium supplementation in broilers from chromium yeast in comparison to control. These findings are in agreement with observations in the present study.




Results indicated that supplementation of chromium alone or in combination with ascorbic acid/vitamin E have little influences on feed consumption, body weight gain and feed conversion ratio, however increased the nitrogen retention in broilers. According to numerical values the best performer group was chromium yeast plus ascorbic acid suggesting some synergistic action between them and must be evaluated further.




The facilities provided by the Division of Animal Nutrition are duly acknowledged.




The authors have no conflict of interest with each other or any organization.


Authors Contribution


This manuscript is the part of MVSc thesis work of the first author.




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