Productive Performance of Brown-egg Laying Pullets as Affected by Fibre Inclusion, Feed Form and Energy Concentration

New research from Spain indicates that feeding moderate amounts of fibre to pullets to five weeks of age improves their performance and that crumbles might be preferable to mash for these birds.
calendar icon 23 February 2015
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The effects of fibre inclusion, feed form and energy concentration of the diet on the growth performance of pullets from hatching to five weeks of age were studied in two experiments by Gonzalez Mateos of the Polytechnic University of Madrid in Spain and c-authors there and at Camar Agroalimentaria, S.L.

They explain in a paper in Poultry Science that in Experiment 1, there was a control diet based on cereals and soybean meal, and six additional diets that included two or four per cent cereal straw, sugar beet pulp (SBP) or sunflower hulls (SFHs) at the expense (wt/wt) of the whole control diet.

From hatching to five weeks of age, fibre inclusion increased (P<0.05) average daily gain and average daily feed intake, and improved (P<0.05) energy efficiency (EnE; kcal AMEn/g average daily gain) but bodyweight uniformity was not affected.

Pullets fed SFH tended to have higher average daily gain than pullets fed SBP (P=0.072) with pullets fed straw being intermediate. Feed conversion ratio was better (P<0.05) with two per cent than with four per cent fibre inclusion.

In Experiment 2, 10 diets were arranged as a 2×5 factorial with two feed forms (mash versus crumbles) and five levels of AMEn (2,850, 2,900, 2,950, 3,000 and 3,050kcal per kg).

Pullets fed the crumbles were heavier and had better feed conversion ratios than pullets fed mash (P<0.001).

An increase in the energy content of the crumble diets reduced average daily feed intake and improved feed conversion ratio linearly but no effects were detected with the mash diets (P<0.01 and P<0.05 for the interactions).

Feeding crumbles tended to improve bodyweight uniformity at five weeks of age (P=0.077) but no effects were detected with increases in energy concentration of the diet.

Mateos and co-authors concluded that the inclusion of moderate amounts of fibre in the diet improves pullet performance from hatching to five weeks of age.

They also found that the response of pullets to increased dietary energy depends on feed form; there was a decrease in feed intake when fed crumbles but no changes when fed mash.

Feeding crumbles might be preferred to feeding mash in pullets from hatching to five weeks of age, the Madrid-based researchers added.


Guzmán P., B. Saldaña, H.A. Mandalawi, A. Pérez-Bonilla, R. Lázaro and G.G. Mateos. 2015. Productive performance of brown-egg laying pullets from hatching to 5 weeks of age as affected by fiber inclusion, feed form, and energy concentration of the diet. Poultry Science. 94:249-261.
doi: 10.3382/ps/peu072

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February 2015

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