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The effect of diluting diets with ground and pelleted or with whole wheat on the performance of growing turkeys

The effect of diluting diets with ground and pelleted or with whole wheat on the performance of growing turkeys

Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 21(4): 735-747

The objective of this study was to determine the effect of moderate dilution (gradually up to 22.5%) of standard diets. with wheat in different physical forms, ground and pelleted (GW) or whole (WW), on growth rate, feed conversion ratio (FCR), carcass yield, and incidence of footpad dermatitis (FPD) in growing heavy-type turkeys. Dietary treatments in which part of the basal diet (control, C) was replaced with a low, medium, or high wheat content (8.2%, 13.3%, or 18.2% on average in groups W-L, W-M, and W-H, respectively) were compared. Seven experimental groups consisted of six replicates each (n=30 birds) fed from 4 to 18 weeks of age. After four weeks of experimental feeding, groups GW(L) and WWL, relative to group C, were characterized by higher coefficients of dry matter digestibility (P=0.003), apparent nitrogen retention (P=0.096), and energy metabolizability (P=0.003), as well as by a higher metabolizable energy content of the daily ration (P<0.001). The beneficial influence of wheat, both ground and whole, was lower at higher levels of dietary dilution. In 8-week-old turkeys, the symptoms of FPD were significantly less severe in groups GW(L) and WWL (P=0.039). In birds aged 18 weeks, no significant differences were found among groups. Neither the amount of wheat nor its physical form had a significant effect on the average body weight of growing turkeys. Throughout the experiment, only in groups WWM and WWH were FCR values lower than in group C (P<0.001). An increase in the wheat content of diets led to a linear decrease in FCR (P<0.001), and average FCR values were significantly (P=0.004) lower in WW than in GW groups. Whole wheat, compared with ground pelleted wheat, contributed to an increase in gizzard weight (P=0.003), although it had no influence on the proportions of breast muscles, leg muscles, and fat in turkey carcasses.

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