Potential of oak acorn with and without polyethylene glycol as an alternative to corn in broiler diets
This study was conducted to investigate the potential for replacing corn with oak acorn (OA), a tannin-rich feedstuff, and the possible role of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in reducing detrimental effects of OA on broilers. A 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was used with three levels of OA (0, 150, and 200 g/kg diet), with and without 10 g/kg PEG. A total of 528 one-day-old male and female Cobb 500 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to one of six experimental treatments, with four replicates of 22 birds each. OA was included in the starter (days 1–21) and finisher (days 22–42) diets as a replacement for corn, without changing the dietary levels of other ingredients. The results indicated that dietary inclusion of OA, without PEG, significantly reduced bodyweight gain (BWG) overall (days 1–42) and resulted in worse finisher and overall feed conversion ratios (FCR). PEG had no significant effect on the performance of birds fed diets without OA, but improved overall the BWG of birds receiving 150 and 200 g/kg OA as well as finisher and overall the FCR of birds given 150 g/kg OA. Liver and pancreas weights were not significantly influenced by OA level, PEG or their interaction. Feeding with 200 g/kg OA had deleterious effects on some tibia traits. In conclusion, a significant interaction between OA level and PEG indicates that PEG has the potential to reduce the adverse effects of OA, leading to improved performance. Thus, up to 150 g/kg OA could be included in PEG-supplemented diets, without adverse effects on performance or the tibia traits of broilers.
Keywords: High-tannin feedstuff, performance, poultry nutrition, tibia characteristic