Poultry feed can contain high DDGS levels
Several researchers at Iowa State are studying the use of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) as a feed ingredient for poultry.
A recent project has shown that laying hen diets can be formulated with high amounts of corn DDGS without adversely affecting egg production and egg quality.
Laying hens were fed a diet with up to 69% corn DDGS. “In the past, only reports of feeding 15-20% corn DDGS have been available, but we showed we can feed as much as we want with no adverse effects on egg production or quality, as long as we have a nutritionally balanced diet,” said Kristjan Bregendahl, assistant professor of poultry nutrition at Iowa State.
The project involved 48 laying hens. Diets containing 0, 23, 46 and 69% corn DDGS were fed for 8 weeks after a 4-week transition period during which the dietary contents of corn DDGS were gradually increased.
Egg production decreased as more DDGS was included in the ration. Additionally, egg weight increased, so there was no significant change in overall egg output. Feed consumption increased with higher levels of corn DDGS, which led to an increase in nitrogen and dry matter manure excretion.
Bregendahl said more research is needed with more hens to investigate potential long-term effects of feeding high levels of corn DDGS. However, even with the small number of hens in the study, he’s confident high levels of corn DDGS can be included in layer rations, as long as the nutrient and energy contents of all feed ingredients are known, and diets are formulated on a digestible amino acid basis.