Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the potential of various combinations of flax, canola and peas to replace soybean meal in diets fed to broiler chicks and to determine whether the extrusion process is beneficial in improving the nutritive value of these protein sources. A total of 210-day old, male broiler chicks (Ross-308 line) weighing an average of 45.3?0.6 g were randomly assigned to one of seven dietary treatments for a 21-day experiment. There were five birds per pen and six pens per treatment. The control diet was based on wheat and soybean meal while the six experimental diets contained 25% extruded or non-extruded combinations of flax and peas (50:50; Linpro?), canola and peas (50:50; Extrapro?) or canola, flax and peas (25:25:50; Flexipro?), added at the expense of wheat and soybean meal. Chromic oxide (0.35%) was added to all diets as a digestibility marker. Digestibility coefficients for dry matter were significantly (p<0.05) lower for the diets containing either extruded or non-extruded Linpro, Extrapro and Flexipro in comparison with the soybean meal diet. Digestibility coefficients for energy and protein followed a similar trend although they were only significantly (p<0.05) lower for the non-extruded Linpro and Extrapro diets as well as both extruded and non-extruded Flexipro. These reductions in digestibility are likely a reflection of the higher neutral detergent fibre content of the diets containing Linpro, Extrapro and Flexipro. With the exception of the digestibility coefficient for crude protein for the Flexipro diet, extrusion significantly (p<0.05) increased the digestibility coefficients for dry matter, crude protein and gross energy for Linpro, Extrapro and Flexipro. This indicates that in addition to the higher fiber content, there are additional anti-nutritional factors contained in these ingredients reducing digestibility and that these factors appear to be heat labile. With the exception of birds fed raw Linpro, the weight gain of birds fed any of the experimental diets did not differ significantly (p>0.05) from that of birds fed soybean meal. Feed intake was also unaffected by dietary treatment. All three products when fed in raw form significantly depressed feed conversion but the depression was overcome by extrusion. In conclusion, extrusion of blends of full-fat flax, canola and peas significantly increased digestibility coefficients for dry matter and energy and resulted in significant improvements in feed conversion compared with non-extruded blends. Use of these products may provide poultry producers with a mechanism to increase the omega-3 fatty acid content of poultry meat thereby catering to the needs of the health conscious consumer.
P.A. Thacker , B. P. Willing and V. J. Racz , 2005. Performance of Broiler Chicks Fed Wheat-based Diets Supplemented with Combinations of Non-extruded or Extruded Canola, Flax and Peas . Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 4: 902-907.