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Effect of Dietary Levels of Canola Meal on Performance, Digestibility and Gut Morphology of Broilers

26 May 2014

Poultry Science journal

A new experiment in Brazil reveals that canola meal can be added at levels up to 16.7 per cent in diets for broilers without affecting the key variables of growth performance. Higher inclusion had some adverse effects on nutrient digestibility and the structure of the gut.

A study by researchers at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil aimed to evaluate the effects of different levels of canola meal in broiler diets on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and duodenal morphometry.

In a paper published in Poultry Science, first-named author, E. Gopinger, and colleagues explain they used a total of 320 one-day-old Cobb broilers in a 35-day experiment.

A completely randomised design with five levels of canola meal (0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 per cent) as a substitute for soybean meal was used with eight replicates of eight birds each. The basal diets were formulated based on maize and soybean meal to meet nutrient requirements of broiler chickens.

The levels of canola meal were evaluated with a polynomial regression at five per cent of significance.

Weight gain and average bodyweight showed a quadratic response (P=0.03 and P=0.04, respectively), decreasing with the addition of 40 per cent canola meal.

The apparent nutrient digestibility of dry matter (P<0.0001), crude protein (P<0.0001) and nitrogen-free extract (P<0.0001) decreased linearly with increased levels of canola meal.

A quadratic effect was observed for villus height (P=0.003), decreasing up to a 20 per cent inclusion of canola meal in the diet and increasing beyond that level.

The researchers concluded that canola meal can be added up to 16.7 per cent in diets for broilers without affecting the key variables of growth performance. It can be added up to 20 per cent with no negative effect on crude protein digestibility but there was a linear decrease in the digestibility of dry matter and nitrogen-free extract with increased inclusion of canola meal.

Additionally, Gopinger and colleagues observed, there was a quadratic response to canola inclusion level for villus height with a maximum at 23.6 per cent canola meal.


Gopinger E., E.G. Xavier, M.C. Elias, A.A.S. Catalan, M.L.S. Castro, A.P. Nunes and V.F.B. Roll. 2014. The effect of different dietary levels of canola meal on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and gut morphology of broiler chickens. Poultry Science. 93(5):1130-1136. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03426

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May 2014

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