Generations of selection for body weight, breast filet weight, and feed efficiency have produced the modern broiler strain, with a high meat yield and a high rate of growth but with poor, declining reproductive performance in the female if feeding is not restricted. Presently, severe feed restriction especially during the rearing period and to a lesser extent during lay is necessary to improve reproduction and to maximize the number of hatchable eggs in heavy-broiler breeder lines. This improved reproduction can be attributed to changes in the functionality of the reproductive axis (ovary-hypothala-mus-pituitary). Feed restriction is also inevitable in order to counteract the occurrence of overweight and several pathologies. This article will give an overview of the current knowledge of the effects of feed restriction on reproductive physiology and concomitantly, the repercussions on welfare in these birds.
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