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Poult Sci. 2008 Mar;87(3):521-7. doi: 10.3382/ps.2007-00113.

Effects of a natural extract of chestnut wood on digestibility, performance traits, and nitrogen balance of broiler chicks.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Dipartimento di Produzioni Animali, Epidemiologia ed Ecologia, University of Turin, Via L. da Vinci, 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy.


Currently, feed ingredients containing tannin are attracting more interest as substitutes for antibiotic growth promoters in animal and poultry feeding. This study investigated the influence of a natural extract of chestnut wood (Silvafeed ENC) on broiler digestibility (experiment 1) and on the growth performance, carcass quality, and nitrogen balance of broilers (experiment 2). Results showed that the inclusion of ENC did not influence the apparent digestibility of organic matter, CP, and ether extract. Chick growth performance showed a quadratic or cubic response with increasing levels of ENC. When chicks were fed ENC from 14 to 56 d of age, the ENC had a positive effect on average daily gain in the first 2 wk of addition, whereas this effect was not evident in the last 2 wk compared with the control group. Similar trends were also shown for daily feed intake. Overall, the chicks fed 0.20% ENC had significantly better growth performance than the control group. Carcass analysis showed no gross lesions in organs and no significant differences in thigh and breast composition among groups. Noteworthy is the fact that the ENC-treated groups had less total litter nitrogen; in particular, chicks fed 0.15 and 0.20% ENC showed a significant difference in total litter nitrogen compared with the control group. No significant difference in nitrogen balance was observed. Addition of 0.20% ENC seemed to have a positive influence on chick feeding.

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