Considering approaches to efficiently produce broiler chickens, an experiment was conducted to describe the manufacturing and feeding effects of a corn, soybean meal, and wheat based diet with varying levels of corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and commercial phytase. Treatments were arranged in a 3 × 2 factorial randomized complete block design varying in phytase (zero, 1,000, and 6,000 FTU/kg) and DDGS inclusion (zero or 5%). Phytase inclusion decreased dietary non-phytate phosphorous (nPP) and total Calcium (Ca) in formulation by 0.12 and 0.1%, respectively. Diets were steam conditioned at 82°C for 10 s, extruded through a 4.7 × 38 mm pellet die, and fed as crumbles (starter and grower) or pellets (finisher). Ten replicate pens of straight-run Hubbard × Cobb 500 chicks consumed one of 6 dietary treatments for 38 days. Phytase improved feed conversion ratio (FCR) in the starter period (P = 0.05), but benefits were not apparent in the grower or finisher periods. Phytase and formulation main effects interacted to affect overall FCR (P = 0.05), demonstrating a 0.05 decrease in FCR when birds were fed a diet containing a super-dose of phytase and without DDGS relative to diets containing a super-dose of phytase and DDGS. The DDGS likely provided reduced nutrient availability relative to their nutrient values used for diet formulation or provided non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) at a level that decreased bird performance. Based on tibia ash measures, performance improvement associated with the super-dose of phytase was likely associated with reducing phytate phosphorus gastrointestinal irritation rather than meeting bird phosphorus requirement.