|Abstract or Summary
- In recent years, small poultry producers have been interested in finding an alternative for corn and soybean for a variety of reasons. Health concerns related to either naturally occurring isoflavones (phytoestrogens) or their genetically modified organism (GMO) status are the primary considerations behind this trend. Secondly, the recent high prices of corn and soy and unavailability of these two ingredients locally are other reasons to identify alternative feed ingredients. For these reasons, three experiments were performed to identify the feasibility of including locally grown alternative feed ingredients in turkey rations. The first experiment assessed the inclusion of up to 30% wheat, 10% lentils, and 10% chickpea to replace all of the corn and a part of soybean in turkey diets to eight weeks of age. The wheat based diet was supplemented with Alpha Gal™ 180P enzymes at level 0.4 1bs/ton. Day old turkey poults were randomly assigned to one of the diets and body weight, feed consumption, and mortality were recorded at two, four, six and, eight weeks of age. Body weights of turkey poults fed wheat based diets with and without enzymes outperformed (p = 0.04) the body weights of turkey poults fed the corn-soy based control diet. No significant (p > 0.05) differences were observed between the body weights of turkey poults fed diets with or without enzymes. There was no significant difference between the feed conversion ratios of the three groups. Feeding wheat-based diets improved growth rates in turkey poults compared with corn-soy based control diet but did not affect feed conversion. Adding AlphaGal™ 180p to wheat-based diets did not improve growth rates or feed conversion in turkey poults. Experiment two compared the growth rates and feed conversions of turkeys fed a corn based –soy free, and, a wheat based (corn-soy free) to the control (corn-soy based) diets. Day old turkey poults were randomly assigned to one of the diets. Body weight, feed consumption, and mortality were determined at two, four, six and, eight weeks of age. The final body weights of poults fed the control diet were significantly higher than those fed a corn based-soy free or a wheat based (corn-soy free) diets (P = 0.001). There were no statistical differences between body weights (3.1kg) of birds fed a corn based-soy free diet and body weights (3.2kg) of birds fed a wheat based (corn-soy free) diet. The feed efficiency was not different between treatments. Excluding soybean from the diets decreased growth rates in turkey poults but did not affect feed conversion. It also increased mortality and cannibalism. Experiment three compared the growth rates and feed efficiency of turkey poults fed wheat based diets containing different level of methionine (control 0.5%, organic 0.15%, and, no supplemental methionine 0%) for six weeks. There were no significant differences between the mean body weights of birds fed a wheat based diet supplemented with 0.5% methionine (control) and the mean body weights of birds fed a wheat based diet supplemented with 0.15 % methionine (organic), while turkey poults fed a ration containing 0% supplemental methionine had significantly (P < .05) lower bodyweight when compared to the organic (0.15% met) and control (0.5% met) diets. No significant differences were noticed between the feed conversion ratios between the diets. Decreasing the dietary methionine supplementation to 0.15% in the organic diets used in this trial did not affect turkey poults' body weight or feed conversion when compared with those fed the control diet. Excluding supplemental methionine from the diet decreased growth rates but did not affect feed conversion.