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Br Poult Sci. 2003 Jul;44(3):427-37.

Supplementation of diets containing pea meal with exogenous enzymes: effects on weight gain, feed conversion, nutrient digestibility and gross morphology of the gastrointestinal tract of growing broiler chicks.

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Avian Science Research Centre, SAC, Ayr, Scotland.


1. The potential for the nutritional improvement of pea-based diets by supplementation with a cocktail of exogenous carbohydrases was investigated using growing broiler chicks. 2. Pea meals (grown in the UK) were included in wheat-based diets at 300 g/kg as a partial replacement for an approximately isonitrogenous mixture of wheat and soybean meal. A wheat/soybean meal diet served as a control and each diet was supplemented with a cocktail of alpha-amylase, pectinase and cellulase. The diets were fed to 1-d-old broiler chicks for a period of 21 d. Weight gain and feed conversion were monitored weekly and excreta were collected during the final week in order to determine nutrient digestibility coefficients and metabolisable energy. On d 21, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract was excised and gross morphology measured. 3. Inclusion of pea meal reduced weight gain, feed conversion, nutrient digestibility and also increased the relative sizes of the distal sections of the GI tract. 4. Enzyme addition partially ameliorated the detrimental effects of pea meal inclusion although similar improvements were also noted for birds fed on the control diet. 5. It is concluded that the nutritive value of pea-meal-based diets can be improved by the addition of carbohydrases, and that some pea cultivars show considerable potential as vegetable protein sources for broiler chicks.

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