Utilization of soy hulls, oat hulls, and flax meal fiber in adult broiler breeder hens

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A total of 72, 65-week-old broiler breeder hens (Ross 308, BW 4,190 ± 45 g) was placed in individual cages to investigate utilization of fiber in soy hulls (SH), oat hulls (OH), and flax meal (FM). Birds were adapted to cages for 10 d prior to allocation (n = 18) to broiler breeder ration (control) or control mixed with either of the 3 fiber sources (wt/wt) added to supply equal amounts of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ˜21% and TiO2. The daily feed allocation was based on 4% BW. Feed intake (FI) was monitored daily, and grab excreta samples were taken on d 16 and 17. On d 18, all birds were weighed and killed 2 h post feeding to measure ceca digesta pH and short chain fatty acids (SCFA). Relative to the control birds, birds receiving fiber lost (P < 0.05) BW due to decreased (P < 0.05) FI. The BW changes were respectively +80, −174, −133, and −585 g/bird for control, SH, OH, and FM, and corresponding FI was 1,062, 918, 885, and 590 g/bird. Birds fed FM retained higher (P < 0.05) NDF than birds fed either SH or OH. The ceca digesta pH was lower (P < 0.05) in birds receiving added fiber relative to control. However, ceca digesta pH of FM fed birds was lower (P < 0.05) than in birds fed either SH or OH, which were in turn similar (P > 0.05). Birds fed FM had higher (P < 0.05) concentration of butyric acid than birds fed the control diets, while birds fed SH and OH had intermediate butyric acid concentration. Acetic acid and total SCFA concentrations were higher (P < 0.05) in birds fed OH diet than in birds fed control but was similar (P > 0.05) to that in birds fed either SH or FM. In conclusion, short term feeding of fibrous feed ingredients reduced BW linked to reduced FI. Fiber sources exhibited differences in utilization reflective of chemical characteristics.

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