Effect of Coarsely Ground Corn on Broiler Live Performance, GI Tract, Digestibility and Digesta Particle Size

Diets that contained 25 and 50 per cent coarsely ground corn improved broiler bodyweight, feed conversion ratio and digestibility of energy and protein, according to new research from North Carolina State University.
calendar icon 19 January 2015
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Dietary structural material has been reported to improve broiler live performance and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) function, according to Dr John Brake and colleagues at Prestage Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University.

In the current issue of Poultry Science, they describe a 50-day cage study, in which they examine the effects of coarsely ground corn (CC) inclusion on broiler live performance, GIT development, apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of energy and nitrogen and digesta particle size distribution and retention time.

The study included three CC inclusion levels – 0, 25 and 50 per cent fine corn (FC) replaced by CC – with six replicate cages of 10 birds per treatment.

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) at 35 and 42 days was improved (P<0.01) as the dietary inclusion of CC increased without effect on feed intake.

The 50 per cent CC diet increased absolute and relative gizzard weight at 42 days of age as compared to diets with 0 and 25 per cent CC (P<0.01).

Dietary CC increased absolute proventriculus weight at 28 days of age (P<0.05).

A numerically lower gizzard digesta pH (P<0.08) was observed at 28 days but not 42 days of age, and there was no difference in proventriculus, jejunum or ileum digesta pH at 28 or 42 days of age.

The 25 and 50 per cent CC treatments increased the digesta retention time at 30 and 45 days of age (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively).

The 25 and 50 per cent CC treatments improved AID of energy by 7.1 and 8.2 per cent, respectively, when compared with the zero per cent CC treatment, and they improved AID of nitrogen by 12.2 and 12.4 per cent, respectively (P<0.01).

The digesta particles in the jejunum exhibited a similar distribution, with a dgw (geometric mean diameter by mass) of 218, 204 and 181μm when 0, 25 or 50 per cent CC diets were consumed, respectively.

Brake and colleagues concluded that broilers fed pelleted and screened diets that contained 25 and 50 per cent CC exhibited increased bodyweight, improved FCR and increased AID of energy and nitrogen, which was probably due to enhanced gizzard development and greater digesta retention time.


Xu, Y., C.R. Stark, P.R. Ferket, C.M. Williams, W.J. Pacheco and J. Brake. 2015. Effect of dietary coarsely ground corn on broiler live performance, gastrointestinal tract development, apparent ileal digestibility of energy and nitrogen, and digesta particle size distribution and retention time. Poultry Science. 94:53-60. doi: 10.3382/ps/peu015

Further Reading

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January 2015

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