Effects of dietary coarsely ground corn and 3 bedding floor types on broiler live performance, litter characteristics, gizzard and proventriculus weight, and nutrient digestibility
The effects of zero or 50% dietary coarsely ground corn (CC) in pelleted and screened grower and finisher diets on broilers reared on 3 bedding floor types (plastic net [NET], new pine wood shavings litter [NEW], or old pine wood shavings litter [OLD]) on broiler live performance, litter characteristics, gizzard and proventriculus weight, and apparent ileal digestibility (AID) were studied in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement of treatments. Fine corn was produced with a hammermill (271 μm) and CC with a roller mill (1145 μm). Utilization of CC reduced milling cost by 9.47 cents per MT with similar nutrient content of screened pellets. The 50% CC treatment exhibited improved (P ≤ 0.05) feed intake at 42 d (2.5%) and 49 d (3.0%), and BW (5.4%) and FCR from 28 d (1.4%). Birds on NEW litter exhibited improved (P < 0.05) BW at 28 and 35 d and 42 d FCR as compared to NET and 49 d FCR compared to NET and OLD. The 50% CC treatment exhibited increased (P < 0.05) gizzard weight but decreased proventriculus weight at 49 d. NEW litter birds exhibited increased (P ≤ 0.05) gizzard weight at 28 d and 49 d and decreased proventriculus weight as compared to NET at 49 days. The 50% CC treatment exhibited decreased (P ≤ 0.05) litter moisture at 35 and 42 d, litter N at 35 and 49 d, and litter pH at 49 days. OLD litter birds exhibited greater (P < 0.05) litter N at 14, 35, and 49 d, as well as litter moisture, pH, and ammonia concentration at 49 days. The 50% CC group also exhibited improved AID of nitrogen (P < 0.05). Broilers fed pelleted and screened diets containing 50% CC exhibited improved live performance and reduced litter moisture while use of NEW litter resulted in a somewhat similar effect, which indicated that consumption of NEW litter also facilitated gastric development and function.