Wet and coarse diets in broiler nutrition: development of the GI tract and performance

M.A. Khoa

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Diet structure and conformation during the starter phase play an important role in the functional development of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract of broiler chicken, in particular the foregut segment.\u00a0Feed structure has a significant effect on the development of the foregut segments in broiler chickens. The development of the gastro-intestinal tract in chickens is aimed to adapt and to develop in line with the body in order to meet animal's demands for production traits and it should avoid the GI tract malfunction and improper GI tract development. These can be done by changing (alternating) feed properties and in feeding strategies during the starter phase. Chicken's diet components may be treated in order to enable the crop, theproventriculus- gizzard system to function optimally. Thus they will optimize feed digestion and utilisation. Therefore, the focus of this thesis was: 1)Tounderstand the impact of changes in feed properties like technological treatments on broiler's performance. The technological changes in feed were made to induce differences in structure (particle sizes) and appearance (solid or liquid diets) of the feed and how this feed during the starter phase (0 - 3 weeks of age) influences the development and functioning of the foregut (crop andproventriculus); 2) To develop a feeding regime which optimizes foregut development and function of the foregut segment during starter phase and to see if there is a lasting effect on the following period, in other words, whether there is a carry over effect on performance of broilers during the grower phase. It has been shown that the starter period is critical for GI tract development. Feeding coarse diets during the starter phase improves the functional development of theproventriculus-gizzard system. Wet feeding improves feed intake and, as a consequence, broiler performance. Feeding a wet and coarsely ground diet provides a large improvement in feed intake, feed conversion and body weight gain, showing the most pronounced effects during the starter phase of broiler's life.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Verstegen, Martin, Promotor
  • van der Poel, Thomas, Co-promotor
  • Kwakkel, Rene, Co-promotor
Award date22 Jun 2007
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085046820
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • broilers
  • diets
  • fowl feeding
  • wet feeding
  • solid feeding
  • digestive tract
  • biological development
  • broiler performance
  • animal nutrition


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