Skip to main content Accessibility help

Influence of feeding whole maize, differing in endosperm hardness, on the performance, nutrient utilisation and digestive tract development of broiler starters

  • Y. Singh (a1) and V. Ravindran (a1)


Use of whole wheat, along with compounded feeds, for poultry feeding is a common practice in many parts of the world. However, studies investigating the use of other grains are limited. In the present study, the influence of including whole maize, with differing hardness, in broiler diets on the performance, nutrient utilisation and digestive tract development was examined. The experimental design was a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments, evaluating maize hardness (hard, semi-hard or soft) with diets based on ground maize or 115 g/kg whole maize replacing ground maize. The three maize cultivars were ground in a hammer mill to pass through a 4 mm sieve and six diets were developed based on one of the three cultivars. Following mixing, all diets were cold pelleted through a 3 mm die. Each of the six diets was fed to six replicate cages (eight birds per cage) from day 1 to 21 post-hatch. Maize hardness and whole maize inclusion had no effect (P>0.05) on weight gain. Maize hardness influenced (P<0.05) feed intake and feed per gain, while these two parameters were unaffected (P>0.05) by the inclusion of whole maize. The apparent metabolisable energy (AME) was unaffected (P>0.05) by maize hardness and whole maize inclusion. Maize hardness increased the ileal digestibility of nitrogen (P<0.05) and starch (P=0.06). The relative weight of the gizzard was greater (P<0.05) in birds fed hard and semi-hard maize compared to soft maize, and was greater (P<0.05) when whole maize was included. These results indicated that 115 g/kg of ground maize can be replaced by whole maize in broiler starter diets with no adverse effects on growth performance and thus can reduce the cost of feed manufacture.


Corresponding author



Hide All

Present address: Department of Livestock Production and Management, College of Veterinary Science, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Science University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, Punjab, India. 141004



Hide All
AOAC. (2005) Official Methods of Analysis, 18th edition. AOAC International, Washington DC.
Abdollahi, M.R., Ravindran, V. and Svihus, B. (2013) Pelleting of broiler diets: an overview with emphasis on pellet quality and nutritional value. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 179: 123.
Amerah, A.M., Ravindran, V. and Lentle, R.G. (2009) Influence of wheat hardness and xylanase supplementation on the performance, energy utilization, digestive tract development and digesta parameters of broiler starters. Animal Production Science, 49: 7178.
Amerah, A.M. and Ravindran, V. (2008) Influence of method of whole wheat feeding on the Performance, digestive tract development and carcass traits of broiler chickens. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 147: 326339.
Baker, S. and Herrman, T. (2002) Evaluating particle size. MF-2051 Feed manufacturing, Department of Grain science and industry, Kansa State University, Manhattan, KS.
Bennett, C.D., Classen, H.L. and Riddell, C. (2002) Broiler chickens wheat and barley diets containing whole, ground and pelleted grain. Poultry Science, 81: 9951003.
Clark, P.M., Behnke, K.C. and Fahrenholz, A.C. (2009) Effect of feeding cracked corn and concentrate protein pellets on broiler performance. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 18: 259268.
Gabriel, I., Mallet, S. and Leconte, M. (2003) Differences in the digestive tract characteristics of broiler chickens fed on complete pelleted diet or on whole wheat added to pelleted protein concentrate. British Poultry Science, 44: 283290.
Gabriel, I., Mallet, S., Laconte, M., Tavel, A. and Lalles, J.P. (2007) Effect of whole wheat feeding on the development of the digestive tract of broiler chickens. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 142: 144162.
Hetland, H., Svihus, B. and Olaisen, V. (2002) Effect of feeding whole cereals on performance, starch digestibility and duodenal particle size distribution in broiler chickens. British Poultry Science, 43: 416423.
Lentle, R.G., Ravindran, V., Ravindran, G. and Thomas, D.V. (2006) Influence of feed particle size on the efficiency of broiler chickens fed wheat-based diets. Journal of Poultry Science, 43: 135142.
Liu, S.Y., Truong, H.H. and Selle, P.H. (2015) Whole-grain feeding for meat-chicken production: possible mechanisms driving enhanced energy utilisation and feed conversion. Animal Production Science, 55: 559572.
Mccleary, B.V., Gibson, T.S. and Mugford, D.C. (1997) Measurement of total Starch in cereals products by amyloglucosidase vs. amylase method: collaborative study. Journal of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 80: 571579.
Moss, A. F., Truong, H.H., Liu, S.Y. and Selle, P.H. (2018) Inclusion levels and modes of whole grain incorporation into wheat-based rations differentially influence the performance of broiler chickens. British Poultry Science, 59: 110120.
Nir, I., Hillel, R., Shefet, G. and Nitsan, Z. (1994) Effect of grain particle size on performance. 2. Grain texture interactions. Poultry Science, 73: 781791.
Pomeranz, Y., Czuchajowska, Z., Martin, C.R., and Lai, F.S. (1985) Determination of corn hardness by the Stenvert hardness tester. Cereal Chemistry, 62:108112.
Preston, C.M., McCracken, K.J. and McAllister, A. (2000) Effect of diet form and enzyme supplementation on growth, efficiency and energy utilisation of wheat-based diets for broilers. British Poultry Science, 41: 324331.
Ravindran, V., Wu, Y.B., Thomas, D.G. and Morel, P.C.H. (2006) Influence of whole wheat feeding on the development of digestive organs and performance of broiler chickens. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 57: 21–16.
Rodriques, I. and Choct, M. (2018) The foregut and its manipulation via feeding practices in the chicken. Poultry Science, 97: 31883206.
Ross, . (2007) Ross 308 Broiler: Nutrition Specification, Ross Breeders Limited, Newbridge, Midlothian, Scotland, UK.
SAS. (2004) SAS/STAT® User's Guide: Statistics, Version 6.12. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC.
Short, F.J., Gorton, P., Wiseman, J. and Boorman, K.N. (1996) Determination of titanium dioxide added as an inert marker in chicken digestibility studies. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 59: 215221.
Singh, Y., Ravindran, V. and Molan, A.L. (2015) Influence of whole wheat feeding on the development of coccidiosis in broilers challenged with Eimeria. Research in Veterinary Science, 100: 125130.
Singh, Y., Ravindran, V., Wester, T.J., Molan, A.L. and Ravindran, G. (2014a) Influence of feeding coarse corn on performance, nutrient utilization, digestive tract measurements, carcass characteristics and cecal microflora counts of broilers. Poultry Science, 93: 606616
Singh, Y., Ravindran, V., Wester, T.J., Molan, A.L. and Ravindran, G. (2014b) Influence of pre-pelleting inclusion of whole corn on performance, nutrient utilization, digestive tract measurements, and cecal microbiota of young broilers. Poultry Science, 93: 30733082.
Stenvert, N.L. (1974) Grinding resistance, a simple measure of wheat hardness. Flour and Animal Feed Milling, 12:2427.
Svihus, B., Hetland, H., Choct, M. and Sundby, F. (2002) Passage rate through the anterior digestive tract of broiler chickens fed on diets with ground and whole wheat. British Poultry Science, 43: 662668
Svihus, B., Juvik, E., Hetland, H. and Krogdahl, Å. (2004a). Causes for improvement in nutritive value of broiler chicken diets with whole wheat instead of ground wheat. British Poultry Science, 45: 5560.
Svihus, B., Kløvstad, K.H., Perez, V., Zimonja, O., Sahlström, S., Schüller, R.B., Jeksrud, W.K. and Prestløkken, E. (2004b) Physical and nutritional effects of pelleting of broiler chicken diets made from wheat ground to different coarseness by the use of roller mill and hammer mill. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 117: 281293.
Taylor, R.D. and Jones, G.P.D. (2001) The effect of whole wheat, ground wheat and dietary enzymes on performance and gastro-intestinal morphology of boilers. Proceedings of the 13th Australian Poultry Science Symposium, Australia, pp. 187–190.
Uddin, M.S., Rose, S.P., Hiscock, T.A. and Bonnet, S. (1996) A comparison of the energy availability for chickens of ground and whole grain samples of two wheat varieties. British Poultry Science, 37: 347357.
Wu, Y.B., Ravindran, V., Thomas, G.D., Birtles, M.J. and Hendricks, W.H. (2004) Influence of method of whole wheat inclusion and xylanase supplementation on the performance, apparent metabolisable energy, digestive tract measurements and gut morphology of broilers. British Poultry Science, 45: 385394.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Applied Animal Nutrition
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2049-257X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-applied-animal-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed