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Conference abstract - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Effects of high-fibre sunflower cake on productivity and gut health in broiler chickens

Kalmendal Robin, Elwinger Klas, Tauson Ragnar


Cold-pressed sunflower cake (SFC) is an alternative feedstuff distinguished by high methionine content; making it interesting in e.g. organic feed formulations. However, there are large variations in crude fibre contents due to differences in cultivars and processing techniques used. Recently the effects of fibrous feeds on poultry gut health and productivity have gained much attention. 120 mixed sex broilers were randomly assigned to 3 treatments with 5 replicates per treatment and 8 birds per replicate. The broilers were fed pelletted maize-based diets with 0%, 20% and 30% of undecorticated high fibre SFC (resulting in crude fibre contents of 2.9, 9.8 and 13.3%, respectively) between 15 and 31 days of age. Feeds were iso-nitrogenous and formulated with fixed AME:methionine and AME:lysine ratios. All recordings were pooled within replicates and standard production parameters, volatile fatty acids and log-transformed bacterial counts in the ileal lumen were subjected to ANOVA. Effects of differences in male:female ratios between replicates were never significant (p>0.2) but the effect of live weight at day 15 was significant (p<0.2) and was used as a co-variate in the statistical analyses of final weight, Clostridia counts and acetic acid concentration of ileal lumen. Chickens were heavier when fed 20% (1985 ± 20 g) and 30% (1991 ± 23 g) compared to 0% SFC (1869 ± 20 g) at day 31 (p<0.01). 30% SFC treatment resulted in impaired feed conversion ratio (1.78 ± 0.05) compared to 0% (1.72 ± 0.02) and 20% (1.70 ± 0.04) SFC (p<0.05) but no significant difference was seen between the latter two treatments. Feed intake was different between all treatments (p<0.05) and increased with SFC inclusion. However, consumed amounts of AME, methionine and lysine did not differ between treatments. Dry matter weight of digesta in the distal end of the small intestine increased with SFC inclusion (p<0.01), explaining some of the differences in final weight. Clostridia counts were reduced in ileum with 20% and 30% SFC vs 0% SFC (p<0.05). No effects on coliform bacteria counts were seen. Counts of lactobacilli were reduced with 30% SFC compared to 0% and 20% SFC (p<0.05). Concentration of acetic acid in ileal lumen decreased with increasing SFC level (p<0.05) and propionic acid was reduced in 20% and 30% SFC treatments (p<0.05). Lactic acid concentrations were distinguished by very large variances but there was a tendency of lower lactic acid concentration in 30% vs 20% SFC (p=0.076). No effects on the concentrations of butyric or iso-butyric acid were noted. pH of ileal lumen remained unchanged, irrespective of treatment. No effects on litter quality or foot health were observed in any treatment. The results of this study suggest that 20% inclusion of high fibre SFC in broiler diets does not exert negative effects on production performance and that Clostridia counts in ileal lumen are suppressed

Published in


17th European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition