The use of inulin and wheat bran only during the starter period or during the entire rearing life of broilers: effects on growth performance, small intestinal maturation, and cecal microbial colonization until slaughter age.Poult Sci 2019; 98(9):4058-4065PS
Inulin and wheat bran were added to broiler diets during the starter period or during the entire rearing period to investigate whether the effects of using these ingredients remained until slaughter age. Diets containing no inulin and no wheat bran (CON), 2% inulin (IN), 10% wheat bran (WB), or 2% inulin + 10% wheat bran (IN+WB) were provided until day 11. Thereafter, each dietary treatment was further divided into a continued diet with supplementation or a control diet, resulting in 7 groups (CON, IN/IN, IN/CON, WB/WB, WB/CON, IN+WB/IN+WB, or IN+WB/CON). On day 40, 12 chickens per group were euthanized. The IN/IN group increased the cecal molar ratio of butyrate but had a lower relative abundance of Lactobacillus (P < 0.05). Additionally, the cecal molar ratio of propionate was higher in the IN/CON group compared to the IN/IN group (P = 0.034). The WB/CON group had the best results on BW and feed conversion ratio (FCR) (P < 0.05). Only the cecal molar ratio of iso-butyrate was higher in the WB/WB group (P = 0.013). Moreover, compared to the CON group, both WB/WB and WB/CON groups reduced the relative abundances of Bifidobacterium and Escherichia coli, and only the WB/WB group reduced the relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae (P < 0.05). Both IN+WB/IN+WB and IN+WB/CON groups increased BW until day 21 and lowered the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium (P < 0.05). The IN+WB/IN+WB group increased the cecal molar ratio of butyrate but reduced the molar ratio of propionate with a higher relative abundance of Enterobacteriaceae (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the lack of positive effects induced by inulin might be explained by the dose being too high. The beneficial effects on BW, FCR, and microbiota induced by wheat bran during the starter period were lasting when supplementation was stopped, suggesting that wheat bran could be a favorable ingredient during the starter period.