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How Alternative Feed Ingredients Affect Poultry Dietary Electrolyte Balance

Read the complete report: How Alternative Feed Ingredients Affect Poultry Dietary Electrolyte Balance

About This Report

Dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), derived primarily from corn in the Midwest, are a byproduct of the ethanol industry that can be used as a source of protein in poultry diets.  Turkey producers are concerned that the use of DDGS will result in wet litter (bedding) conditions in the barn and/or change bird performance. Less-dry litter can impact bird performance and welfare.

Two turkey feeding studies were proposed to determine the market turkey response to diets containing DDGS or in combination with canola meal relative to varying levels of dietary chloride.

The goal of the completed research was to develop recommendations based on turkey feeding trials that can be used by poultry nutritionists to improve utilization of DDGS in market turkey diets as it pertains to diet electrolyte balance. The specific objectives of the two research studies were to: 1) Identify a range of dietary electrolyte balance (DEB) values for diets containing distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and canola meal that would not affect market tom turkey performance under practical formulation and typical rearing conditions; 2) Determine if the addition of phytase modifies the DEB in a diet with a high level of alternative feed ingredient inclusion; and, 3) Develop, based on information from Objectives 1 and 2, a modified DEB calculation (mDEB) utilizing other electrolyte contributions such as sulfur for use with alternative ingredients.

Project Outcomes

The objectives were not met in their entirety relative to being able to determine and provide some specific dietary electrolyte balance recommendations. However, performance responses relative to diet type and diet chloride were determined and recommendations about diet chloride and DEB levels in market turkey tom grow-finish diets were identified.

The overall conclusion reached after completion of the two research projects was that there should be careful consideration in using high levels of both canola meal and DDGS in market turkey diets and that both diet chloride level and electrolyte balance should be considered in order to minimize any potential negative performance effects and wet litter condition in the turkey barn. Levels of chloride in excess of .2 to  .3% should be minimized.


A special thanks to the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council for their funding support of this project.