NEW ZEALAND - Coarsely ground maize (corn) in the diet of broilers had beneficial effects on growth and gut microflora when it was fed to birds aged 11 to 35 days to replace ground maize. There were some adverse effects on carcase yields.
Feeding of coarse corn increased weight gain and gizzard size of broilers and modified gut microflora profile toward beneficial species, indicating that it can totally replace ground corn in birds fed mash diets, according to a new study from Massey University.
In Poultry Science, Y. Singh and colleagues at Palmerston North explain that they aimed to examine the effects of feeding coarsely ground corn on performance, digestive tract measurements, nutrient use and caecal microflora counts in broilers.
Five diets containing 600g per kg of finely ground corn (hammer milled) or 150, 300, 450 and 600g per kg of coarse corn (cracked in roller mill) replacing (wt/wt) finely ground corn were formulated.
Each diet in mash form was offered ad libitum to six replicate cages of broilers (eight birds per cage) from days 11 to 35 post-hatch.
Weight gain increased with increasing inclusion levels of coarse corn.
Feed intake increased at 150g per kg of coarse corn inclusion, plateaued until 450g per kg, and then increased again to 600g per kg.
Feed per gain increased as inclusion of coarse corn increased to 300g per kg and then decreased with further inclusion.
Apparent metabolisable energy and total tract dry matter retention was unaffected up to 300g per kg inclusion, and then decreased with further inclusion of coarse corn.
Relative gizzard weight increased with increasing inclusion of coarse corn.
Inclusion of coarse corn had no effect on ileal digestibility of dry matter, nitrogen or starch.
Breast meat yield decreased and abdominal fat increased with increasing inclusion levels of coarse corn but there was no effect on the carcase yield.
A linear effect was observed for caecal microflora counts. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria counts increased and counts of Clostridium, Campylobacter and Bacteroides decreased with increasing inclusion levels of coarse corn.
Singh Y., V. Ravindran, T.J. Wester, A.L. Molan and G. Ravindran. 2014. Influence of feeding coarse corn on performance, nutrient utilization, digestive tract measurements, carcass characteristics, and cecal microflora counts of broilers. Poultry Science. 93(3):607-616. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03542
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