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The effect of dietary fibre on the small intestines and apparent digestion in the turkey

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1. In order to determine the feasibility of using high fibre diets in turkey rations, three crude fibre dietary concentrations were fed to turkey hens at three ages and performance, fibre digestibility and small intestinal morphology were determined.

2. Growth rate and feed efficiency decreased when diets contained 80 to 90 g crude fibre/kg; however, growth did not change when 60 g crude fibre/kg was fed between 1 and 4 weeks or between 6 and 8 weeks and was enhanced between 11 and 14 weeks of age.

3. Digestibilities of crude protein, fat and gross energy (GE) were depressed at fibre intakes of 80 to 90 g/kg between 1 and 4 weeks but not at later ages. Crude fibre digestibility increased with age and decreased with dietary fibre content.

4. Total small intestinal length and surface area were increased by high dietary crude fibre intake between 11 and 14 weeks. Small but inconsistent changes in the length, diameter and number of villi, villus size and area were observed in the duodenum, jejunum and ileum at the different ages as a result of feeding the different crude fibre concentrations.

5. Crude fibre can be utilised to some extent by turkeys and concentrations of 60 g fibre/kg in the diet did not result in decreased performance after 6 weeks of age.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Agriculture Hebrew University Rehovot 2: Department of Poultry Science ARO Volcani Centre Bet Dagan Israel

Publication date: 01 December 2003

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