Apart from elimination of errors in obtaining exact measurements of feed intake and total faeces output in the traditional total collection method, the use of markers to determine nutrient digestibility of feeds in animal species would fit into animal welfare considerations. The external marker chromic oxide has been the prominent marker in the 1960s to evaluate metabolizable energy content of feeds for poultry. A preliminary feeding period of 5 days and collection of a sample representing day and night excreta over a 24 hour period have been suggested as protocol to get reliable results with the use of chromic oxide as marker. However, difficulty in obtaining repeatability between laboratories because of the analytical assay for chromic oxide, variability in results, incomplete and inconsistent recovery in excreta, and hazardous possibilities, resulted in replacement of the chromic oxide marker technique with the method of total excreta collection. Although titanium dioxide, which can be analysed by an accurate and simple colourimetrical assay, has been used in several studies in poultry, only one study has evaluated this marker for recovery (98%) in excreta. The internal marker, acid-insoluble ash, which also could present an external marker when the internal content is aided with the use of siliceous substances, is gaining popularity in recent times, although most studies presented higher digestibility values with this marker in avian species than those derived through the total excreta collection method. Lack of standardisation of analytical assays could partly explain the latter phenomenon. Although crude fibre has presented recovery rates of near 100% in excreta of laying hens and turkeys, fear of possible digestion of this substance by cecal microflora has prevented the further utilisation of this substance as marker. Lignin, determined by digestion in 72% sulphuric acid, presented recovery rates of 99 and 98% in chickens and ostriches, respectively, and similar (P>0.05) results than the total collection method in partridges. The elimination of the use of markers to determine energy metabolizability and nutrient digestibility with avian species have been based on a small number of studies conducted mainly before 1965, and extrapolation of results obtained with other animal species.