Effect of different dietary fibre raw material sources on production and gut development in fast-growing broilers

Author: A.B. Fourie & D.B.R. Wandrag
Year: 2024
Issue: 2
Volume: 54
Page: 166 - 175

Many studies have been published recently about the beneficial effect of different fibre sources in a broiler diet. To assess the effects of raw material sources available in southern Africa, a trial was done with four treatments: control diet, 2% sunflower hulls, 2% malt culms, and 0.8% of a commercial lignocellulose product. Using a completely randomised block design, each treatment had 24 repetitions (96 pens in total), with 48 birds per pen. The effects were measured weekly by assessing production parameters, gut development, and the humoral immune response. Production parameters were measured per pen, gut measurements were done on 12 birds per treatment each week, and humoral immune response on 24 birds per treatment at 32 days. The promising responses seen in previous studies on fibre sources such as sugar beet pulp and oat hulls were not fully repeated here with the local fibre sources. There were no statistical differences from the control group based on production parameters. Sunflower hulls produced a substantial improvement over the control group with regards to caecal and overall intestinal lengths at 7 d. There was a numerical improvement in gizzard weights at 7 d for the malt culms group. No marked differences were detected in serology. The results indicate that there could be merit in including sunflower hulls in the pre-starter period (days 0–7), although it did not translate to production advantages here. Different inclusion levels should be investigated.

Keywords: gut length, immunity, intestinal health, pre-starter, sunflower hulls
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