Journal Article

The effects of whole grains on nutrient digestibilities, growth performance, and cecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations in young chicks fed ground corn-soybean meal diets

P. Biggs and C. M. Parsons

in Poultry Science

Published on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.

Volume 88, issue 9, pages 1893-1905
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0032-5791
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1525-3171 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2008-00437
The effects of whole grains on nutrient digestibilities, growth performance, and cecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations in young chicks fed ground corn-soybean meal diets

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Five experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of whole wheat, whole sorghum, or whole barley on nutrient digestibility, growth performance, and cecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations when supplemented primarily at the expense of corn in ground corn-soybean meal control diets. The first 4 experiments utilized New Hampshire × Columbian male chicks. In the first 2 experiments, feeding 5, 10, 15, or 20% whole wheat had no effect on growth performance at 21 d when compared with chicks fed the control diet. The third experiment tested 20, 35, and 50% whole wheat fed from 0 to 21 d of age and showed that a 50% whole wheat diet decreased (P < 0.05) 21-d growth and feed efficiency when compared with chicks fed the control diet. In experiment 4, 10 and 20% whole sorghum reduced (P < 0.05) growth at 21 d, whereas chicks fed 10 and 20% whole barley had similar weight gains to chicks fed a ground corn-soybean meal diet. The fifth experiment with commercial Ross × Ross male broiler chicks evaluated 10 and 20% whole sorghum or whole barley and 20 and 35% whole wheat. Growth at 21 d was unaffected by any dietary treatment. Feed efficiency was decreased (P < 0.05) at 21 d with 20% whole wheat and improved (P < 0.05) with 10% whole barley. Feeding whole grains to chicks resulted in an increase in gizzard weight, even as early as 7 d, in all experiments. Chicks fed diets containing 10 to 20% whole wheat generally had increased MEn values at 3 to 4, 7, 14, and 21 d and also had increased amino acid digestibility at 21 d in one experiment. At 21 d, cecal pH and short-chain fatty acid concentrations in all experiments were unaffected by feeding whole grains to chicks. The results of this study indicated that feeding whole wheat, sorghum, or barley increased gizzard weight, and feeding 10 to 20% whole wheat may increase ME and amino acid digestibility.

Keywords: whole grain; digestibility; cecal fatty acid; chick

Journal Article.  7853 words. 

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