This study was conducted to investigate the effect of two conditioning times and different levels of activated sodium bentonite (ASB) on pellet quality, pellet mill energy usage, broiler performance, internal organ weights, jejunal morphometry, and nutrients retention in wheat-soybean meal basal diets during grower period (day 11–24). During feed production, the electrical usage of the feed mill was recorded to measure relative electrical energy usage (REEU). Pelleted feed was sampled to evaluate pellet quality indices. Five hundred and forty day-old male broiler chickens (Ross 308) were received crumbled starter diet until day 10. On day 11, chickens were individually weighed and randomly placed in 36 floor pens containing 15 birds each. Birds were assigned to a completely randomised design in factorial arrangement of 2 conditioning times (2 and 4 min) × 3 ASB levels (0.0, 7.5 and 15.0 g/kg). Feed intake and weight gain were recorded to calculate performance. On day 24, the relative weight of the carcass, inner organs, and intestinal segments were measured. Jejunal segment and excreta samples were collected to study villi morphology and nutrients retention, respectively. Results showed that the interaction of 15 g/kg ASB and 2 min conditioning increased (P < 0.05) pellet quality and REEU. Conditioning time and ASB levels had no significant effect on performance, relative weight and length of intestinal segments, relative weight of internal organs and carcass. The interaction of 2 min conditioning time and 15 g/kg ASB increased (P < 0.05) villus height, villus width, and villus surface area. The interaction of 2 min conditioning and 15 g/kg ASB increased (P < 0.05) AME, Ca, and P retention. In conclusion, the interaction of 2 min conditioning and 15 g/kg ASB could improve pellet quality, jejunal morphometry, and nutrients retention in growing chickens fed wheat-soybean meal basal diets.
Key words: Conditioning time, Activated sodium bentonite, Pellet quality, Pellet mill efficiency, Gut morphology, Broilers.
Abstract published in Animal Feed Science and Technology, Volume 277, July 2021, 114955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2021.114955.