During the last two decades a number of studies have been published on the effect of organic trace minerals related to improving carcass characteristics in poultry (15, 11, 6, 21, 12, 19, 23, 14, 7). As previously documented, many factors interact to improve or reduce poultry yields in processing plants (1, 2, 26). The major ones are controlled by improving management and operating procedures during pre-slaughter, sacrifice and processing phases. Others depend on environmental control or come from situations occurring early in the growth of the birds (1, 26), creating uneven flocks and fragile tissues. The contribution of trace mineral nutrition to effect an improvement on carcass quality is mostly related to their influence on the way animals cope with different stressors and the strength and consistency conferred to their tissues.

Zinc is an important factor of many enzyme systems and is necessary for maintenance of growth, metabolism, normal reproduction and hormonal regulation. It is essential for keratinisation and immune function (13). Improving zinc nutrition has shown benefits in the integrity of skin, feathers, footpads, muscles, bones and reduction in bruises (6, 11, 21). These can be translated into increases in the output of poultry products that meet today’s demanding market specifications.

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