High-fiber ingredients, like distillers grains and wheat bran, are often priced suitably to feature at high levels in feed formulas for young poultry. But, adding such ingredients in diets for chicks from broiler or layer lines is bound to give different results, as evidenced by a recent study.

With diets containing 6 to 8 percent of these ingredients, layer chicks were better in handing the higher fiber concentration by experiencing an increased digestibility of certain fractions of this hard-to-digest feed component. On the other hand, broiler chicks suffered from depressed growth, compared to chicks fed control diets (isocaloric, but based on maize and soya only). This was probably because broilers could not cope with the higher volume of the fibrous feeds, and, as such, they could not eat enough to satisfy their needs for rapid growth. On the other hand, layer chicks, which are not required to grow as fast as broilers, and therefore tend to consume less feed, were able to profit from the less digestible material.


In summary, adding high-fiber ingredients in diets for layer chicks does not harm performance, but the same ingredients in broiler diets will depress growth even if energy concentration is unchanged.