Animal Nutrition Views
Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
Feeding whole wheat to broilers is not a new concept. In fact, it is a topic that is being researched continuously. Nevertheless, despite the interest and data, this concept is practiced (mainly in Europe) in isolated cases. Part of the reason for the lack of popularity is perhaps the variable performance of broilers. This might have to do with the plethora of wheat varieties, and perhaps with the lack of proper design of the remaining feed.
When it comes to maize, which is fed to most broilers outside Europe, there has been research regarding feeding cracked maize instead of finely ground kernels. Again, such practice targets feed cost as maize makes up to 60-70 percent of the total feed and avoiding the grinding process certainly reduces the feed bill. Research from Kansas State University has demonstrated that feeding up to 25 percent cracked maize does not affect broiler growth performance while improving feed mill output (by as much as 19 percent). The question most frequently asked regarding cracked maize is whether it should be part of a pelleted complete diet or be mixed with pellets that contain the rest of the complete diet. Again, results have been variable, and have to do mostly with the size of maize particles, or some other problem yet to be identified.
So, in general, there is considerable research done and a real interest from broiler producers when it comes to feeding whole wheat or cracked maize. But, still, this practice is only sporadically practiced with any measure of success. Perhaps, there is need to connect science with practice, as these two are not necessarily communicating in a direct way. At any rate, we must keep at this topic because broilers don’t really benefit from the extra grinding of their cereals.
I believe this is a very interesting topic, and I would be very happy to read your own experiences!