Influence of Pellet Length on Pellet Quality and Performance of Broiler Starters16 November 2013
A study in New Zealand shows that the physical quality of pellets can be significantly enhanced by increasing the pellet length but that young broilers prefer shorter pellets.
An experiment, reported in the current issue of Journal of Applied Poultry Research, was conducted to investigate the effect of pellet length on pellet quality and performance of broiler starters (seven to 21 days of age).
M.R. Abdollahi and V. Ravindran from Massey University in New Zealand explain that a wheat-based diet was formulated and pelleted to achieve three desired pellet lengths (3, 5 and 7mm).
Five experimental treatments were developed by feeding broilers pellets with different lengths during the second and third weeks of age. The treatments were feeding of 3-mm (length) pellets during weeks 2 and 3; feeding 3- and 5-mm pellets during weeks 2 and 3, respectively; feeding 3- and 7-mm pellets during weeks 2 and 3, respectively; feeding of 5-mm pellets during weeks 2 and 3; and feeding 5- and 7-mm pellets during weeks 2 and 3, respectively.
Increasing the pellet length from 3 to 5 and 7mm significantly improved pellet durability and hardness with a marked increase associated with increasing the pellet length from 3 to 5mm.
Over the whole trial period (days 7 to 21), birds fed only 3-mm pellet diets showed highest feed intake. Weight gain of birds fed 3-mm pellets through the entire experiment was similar to those fed 5- and 7-mm pellets but higher than other dietary treatments.
Overall, concluded Abdollahi and Ravindran, the physical quality of pellets can be significantly enhanced by increasing the pellet length. However, young broilers (aged seven to 14 days) show a preference for shorter pellets.
Abdollahi M.R. and V. Ravindran. 2013. Influence of pellet length on pellet quality and performance of broiler starters. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(3):516-522. doi: 10.3382/japr.2013-00736
You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.