Performance of Broiler Chicks Fed Normal and Low Viscosity Rye or Barley with or without Enzyme Supplementation

  • He, T. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, 51 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • Thacker, P.A. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, 51 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan) ;
  • McLeod, J.G. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Swift Current) ;
  • Campbell, G.L. (Department of Animal and Poultry Science, 51 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan)
  • Received : 2002.03.05
  • Accepted : 2002.07.22
  • Published : 2003.02.01


This experiment was conducted to measure nutrient digestibility and performance in broiler chicks fed diets based on normal and low viscosity rye or barley fed with and without enzyme (pentosanase and $\beta$-glucanase) during a 17 day growth trial. A total of 150 one-day old, male broiler chicks (5 birds per pen and 5 pens per treatment) were randomly assigned to one of six dietary treatments in a $3{\times}3$ factorial design experiment (3 cereals${\times}$2 enzyme levels). Digestibility coefficients were determined using chromic oxide. Digestibility coefficients for dry matter and crude protein were significantly (p=0.0001) higher for the barley-based diets than for any of the rye-based diets. Digestibility coefficients for gross energy did not differ (p>0.05) due to cereal grain. There were no differences in the digestibility coefficients for dry matter and gross energy between chicks fed normal and low viscosity rye. However, the digestibility coefficient for crude protein was higher (p=0.01) for the low viscosity rye compared with the normal viscosity rye. Addition of enzyme to the diet significantly (p=0.0001) increased digestibility coefficients for dry matter, crude protein and energy. There were no significant differences in weight gain, feed intake or feed conversion between birds fed barley or rye or between birds fed normal or low viscosity rye. Enzyme supplementation significantly improved (p=0.0001) weight gain, intake and feed conversion. The overall results of this experiment indicate that unsupplemented barley and rye do not support adequate growth rates in poultry. Enzyme supplementation dramatically improved broiler performance. In addition, genetic selection to reduce the viscosity of rye had only a modest effect on the nutritive value of rye for broilers.


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