SAGE-Hindawi Access to Research
Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2010, Article ID 328123, 5pages
Effect of Crumble-Pellet and Mash Diets with Different Levels of
Dietary Protein and Energy on the Performance of Broilers at the
End of the Third Week
S. Jafarnejad,1M. Farkhoy,2M. Sadegh,1and A. R. Bahonar3
1Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 14155-6453, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Animal and Poultry, Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 14155-6453,
3Department of Food Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 14155-6453, Tehran, Iran
Correspondence should be addressed to S. Jafarnejad, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 4 July 2010; Revised 9 November 2010; Accepted 27 December 2010
Academic Editor: Sagar M. Goyal
Copyright © 2010 S. Jafarnejad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
This experiment was conducted to investigate the eﬀect of the form of diets with diﬀerent levels of protein and energy on broilers
performance at the end of the third week. A total of 2800 male broiler chicks were fed with two forms of diet (mash and crumble-
pellet), two levels of protein (23% and 21% CP), and two levels of energy (3200 and 3000 Kcal/Kg ME) from 1 to 21 days of age.
The bodyweight (BW) and Feed conversion rate (FCR) were aﬀected by the form of diet with the crumble-pellet form being better
(P<.001). The diet with high protein signiﬁcantly increased BW and decreased FCR (P<.001). The diﬀerent levels of energy
did not aﬀect FCR and BW in crumble-pellet diet but should a signiﬁcant eﬀectontheminmashdiet(P<.05). There were no
signiﬁcant interactions for any of the parameters tested except for interactions between energy and feed form. BW and FCR were
improved by energy when diets were fed in the mash form (unlike the crumble-pellet form) at all ages. It is concluded that feeding
crumble-pellets from 1 to 21 days of age improved BW and FCR and that an increase in the protein (unlike energy) content of the
diet increased the performance of the chickens at the end of the third week.
Successful broiler development is dependent on optimal feed
intake throughout the growing period. Optimal feed intake
is dependent on a number of factors such as environmental
temperature, and diet nutrient density, and physical feed
quality is considered to have a very signiﬁcant impact on
broiler growth. Energy and protein are very important
nutrients for broilers like other living creatures. Energy is
required for body functioning and protein is an essential
constituent of all tissues of animal body. Protein having
major eﬀect on growth performance of the bird is the most
expensive nutrient in broiler diets . It is a widely accepted
principle in poultry nutrition that dietary energy and the
essential nutrients must be considered as an entity. To ensure
maximum utilization of energy, protein, and every nutrient
of the diet, a right proportion of these nutrients are necessary
for optimum growth of the birds and for minimization of the
surplus use of vital dietary component, and because the ﬁrst
few days after hatch now represent a greater percentage of a
broiler’s lifespan than any time in history, it is critical that the
bird be given every opportunity to get oﬀto a good start.
The physical form of feed (mash and pellet) is a crucial
factor in meat yield of broiler. Mash is a form of a complete
feed that is ﬁnely ground and mixed so that birds cannot
easily separate out ingredients; each mouthful provides a
well-balanced diet. Mash diet gives greater uniﬁcation of
growth and less death loss and is more economical. However,
ground feed is not so palatable and does not retain its
nutritive value so well as ungrounded feed . Pellet system
of feeding is really a modiﬁcation of the mash system. It
consists of mechanically pressing the mash into hard dry
pellets or “artiﬁcial grains”. It is generally accepted that,
compared to mash, the feeding of pellets improves broiler
SAGE-Hindawi Access to Research
Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2010, Article ID 328123, 5 pages
2Veterinary Medicine International
Tab le 1: Ingredient composition and nutrient content of experiment diet (as fed basis).
Crumble-pellet diets Mash diets
Yellow corn 48.4 51 54.8 57.2 48.4 51 54.8 57.2
Soybean meal 37.9 40.5 32.4 35.2 37.9 40.5 32.4 35.2
Oil 7.15 4 6.1 3 7.15 4 6.1 3
Monocalcium phosphate 1.45 1.4 1.5 1.45 1.45 1.4 1.5 1.45
Limestone 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7
Salt 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Dl-methionine 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Lysine 0.21 0.15 0.27 0.23 0.21 0.15 0.27 0.23
Vit. & min. premix10.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
ME (kcal/kg) 3200 3000 3200 3000 3200 3000 3200 3000
Av. phosphorus (%) 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45
Sodium (%) 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17
Methionine (%) 0.64 0.64 0.62 0.62 0.64 0.64 0.62 0.62
L-Lysine (%) 1.35 1.35 1.25 1.25 1.35 1.35 1.25 1.25
Methionine + cystine (%) 1 1 0.95 0.95 1 1 0.95 0.95
1Each kg of premix provided vitamin A, 10000 IU; vitamin D3, 2500 IU; vitamin K, 2.4 mg; vitamin E, 44 IU; biotin, 0.1mg; folic acid, 2.0 mg; niacin, 25mg;
calcium pentothenate, 14.32mg; pyridoxine, 3.10 mg; riboﬂavin, 5 mg; thiamin, 1.2 mg; vitaminB12, 10.5 µg; Fe, 85 mg; Mn, 125 mg; Cu, 7.8 mg; Se, 0.09 mg;
Zn, 60 mg; chol ine chloride, 5 .5 mg.
growth rate with an increased feed intake [3–6]. Reasons
for the enhanced performance may be due to increased
digestibility, decreased ingredient segregation, reduction of
energy during prehension, and increased palatability , but
feeding pelleted rations is not enough to ensure enhanced
performance of poultry. The quality of pellets must be taken
into account also .
Crumble also is a type of feed prepared at the mill by
pelleting of the mixed ingredients and then crushing the
pellet to a consistency coarser than mash. Recently this form
of feed has become popular in broiler production due to its
convenience of feeding. Choi et al.  reported that chicks
fed the crumbled starter diet consumed more feed.
The aim of this study was to investigate the eﬀects of
diﬀerent levels of energy, protein and diﬀerent feed forms
(mash and crumble-pellet), and interactions between them
on the performance of broilers in starter period upon the
2. Materials and Methods
A total of 2800 commercial male broilers (Ross 308) were
used in a completely randomized design with eight treat-
ments and seven replications. One-day-old broilers (average
initial bodyweight of 45 g) were allocated to dietary treat-
ments. There were 50 birds per replicate, and the stocking
density was 17 birds/m2. Room temperature was maintained
at 33◦C during the ﬁrst week, and it was decreased 3◦Ceach
week till it reached 27◦C at the end of the third week. All
diets were corn-soybean based. Feed and fresh water were
supplied ad libitum during the experiment. A 24-hour light
was made available to the chicks throughout the experiment.
The experiment was used in a factorial arrangement 2 ×
2×2 with two forms of diet (mash, crumble and pellet)
(crumble and pellet form of diet used, respectively, in the ﬁrst
10 days and 10–21 days old), two levels of protein (23% and
21% CP), and two levels of energy (3200 and 3000 Kcal/Kg
ME). The ingredient composition and analysis of the basal
diets are shown in Tab l e 1. Feed intake and weight gain were
recorded at the end of ﬁrst, second, and third week, and feed
conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated. The experimental
design was analyzed statistically using ANOVA technique.
The GLM is used to summarize data in some parameters that
are pertinent to the experiment.
3. Results and Discussion
Data on weight gain and FCR at the end of ﬁrst, second,
and third week are presented in Ta bl e 2 . The weight gain was
signiﬁcantly greater in broilers fed crumble-pellet diets than
mash diets when assessed over trial period (P<.001). T1
(crumble-pellet form with 3200 Kcal/Kg and 23% protein)
had the highest weight gain (951 g) and the best FCR (1.31).
The results were in accordance with those of van Biljon 
who reported that chickens on the crumble-pellet dietary
regimen were signiﬁcantly heavier at 42d when compared
with birds fed either all-mash or ground crumble-pellet
regimen. Jahan et al.  reported that the highest body
Veterinary Medicine International 3
Tab le 2: Weight gain and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of broiler chickens fed on mash and crumble-pellet as aﬀected by va rious metabolizable
energy (ME) and crude protein (CP) levels of the diets∗at the end of the third week (mean + SE).
form Weight gain (g) FCR (g/g)
1st wk 2nd wk 3rd wk 1st wk 2nd wk 3rd wk
1 23 3200 A 177ab ±1.7 486a±4.8 951a±5.3 .84c±0.004 1.13d±0.009 1.31e±0.013
2 21 3200 A 172b±2.1 464b±4.8 905b±6.2 .86c±0.003 1.15d±0.009 1.35d±0.009
3 23 3000 A 179a±3.1 488a±6.8 936a±10.5 .85c±0.005 1.14d±0.011 1.30e±0.012
4 21 3000 A 177ab ±2.2 475ab ±4.2 913b±6.4 .88c±0.018 1.18c±0.004 1.37cd ±0.007
5 23 3200 B 162c±1.8 438c±4.6 842c±4.4 .87c±0.024 1.18c±0.016 1.36d±0.014
6 21 3200 B 156de ±1.6 422d±3.1 818d±8.5 .89bc ±0.020 1.21c±0.011 1.39c±0.004
7 23 3000 B 158cd ±1.8 420d±3.3 798d±6.4 .94ab ±0.032 1.24b±0.013 1.43b±0.013
8 21 3000 B 151e±1.6 401e±2.4 757e±8.3 .95a±0.007 1.28a±0.005 1.49a±0.008
Pvalue .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
a-b-c-d Means with lacking common superscripts diﬀer signiﬁcantly.
∗Mean of 7 replicates having 50 birds in each replicate.
∗∗A; crumble-pellet diet, B; mash diet.
weight gain was observed in the crumble group throughout
the experiment period, but these data were statistically
similar with pellet group from 5 to 8 weeks of age. Allerd
et al.  also reported that chicks grew faster when fed
as pellets or crumbles than when the same diets were fed
as mash. In accordance with other authors results [3–6,11]
the feeding of pellets, compared to mash, improved broiler
growth rate, which was associated with an increased feed
intake and improved feed conversion eﬃciency. Also, Agah
and Norollahi  reported that the usage of mash diet in the
ﬁrst ten days and pellet diet in other growing periods could
be having the best FCR and the highest weight gain which is
in agreement with the result of this study.
Fairﬁeld  noticed that pelleting of feed also provides
the beneﬁts of increasing the bulk density of feed, improving
feed ﬂow ability and providing opportunities to reduce feed
formula costs through the use of alternative feed ingredients.
Maximum weight gain was observed in birds fed on diet
containing 23% CP on both crumble-pellet and mash diets
in all weeks (P<.001). Birds fed dietary energy levels of
3200 Kcal ME/kg gained signiﬁcantly more weight than birds
fed 3000 Kcal ME/kg in the mash diets at second (P<.05)
and third (P<.001) weeks but no diﬀerence in BW was
noted for birds fed the pellet diets with the diﬀerent levels
of metabolizable energy in all weeks.
Metabolizable energy had a signiﬁcant interaction with
feed form for all of the performance parameters studied.
There were interactions between metabolizable energy and
feed form on BW and FCR at all ages examined. Both main
eﬀect and interactive data are shown in Tab l e 3.Bodyweight
was not aﬀected by metabolizable energy when diets were fed
in pellet-crumble form. In contrast, BW decreased and also
FCR increased with reduced energy when diets were in mash
form (Ta b le 3 ).
Conﬂicting results on the interaction between feed forms
and energy have been reported. Whereas some trials have
showed signiﬁcant interactions [14,15], others did not .
Scott  has reported a decrease in growth rate with
decreasing nutrient density and metabolizable energy when
diets were fed in mash form which is similar to the ﬁndings of
this research. This relationship was likely a reﬂection of the
reduced ability of birds to eat the bulkier, and possibly less
palatable, low-density mash ration. The interaction between
nutrient density and feed form on feed intake supports this
CP diets gained more weights as compared to those fed
high ME and low CP diets. These ﬁndings are contrary to
those reported by Holsheimer and Veerkamp , claiming
that the normal-CP diets gave signiﬁcantly higher gains
than the high-CP diets at 6, 7, and 8 weeks of age. The
results were also in accordance with those of Onwudike 
who reported an increased daily weight gain with 2800 Kcal
ME/kg and dietary protein of 22% (in compare to 20%) in
broiler chickens. The ﬁndings of this study were in close
agreement with those of Leeson et al.  who found that
high-energy and low-protein diets (3000 Kcal ME/kg and
20% CP) depressed the growth of broilers. They also reported
signiﬁcantly higher body weight gains with 24 and 22%
CP compared to 20%. However, Leeson et al. reported
that body weight gain and growth rate were unaﬀected by
the level of the energy in diet of broiler chicks that is in
agreement with the result of this study. Han et al. 
observed no diﬀerence in body weight gain in low-protein
diets for broilers when being fortiﬁed the low-CP diets with
essential amino acids. So, it seems that growth depression
due to low-protein diets may be due to low-amino-acid
proﬁle of such diets. In this trial, FCR was aﬀected by the
form of diet with the pellet form being better in all weeks
On the crumble-pellet and mash diets, it was noted that
birds fed on diets containing 23% CP had lower FCR than
the birds fed on diet containing 21% CP, specially at the 2nd
and 3rd week (P<.001). A similar response to dietary energy
was observed for FCR in the mash diets at the 1st week (P<
.01) and at the 2nd and 3rd weeks (P<.001), but the eﬀect
4Veterinary Medicine International
Tab le 3: The eﬀect of energy, protein, and feed form and their interactions on the performance of broilers fed mash and crumble-pellet diet
E∗P∗FP∗FE∗FE∗PF P E
BW(1st wk) NS NS ∗∗ NS ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ NS
BW(2nd wk) NS NS ∗∗∗ NS ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ ∗
BW(3rd wk) NS NS ∗∗∗ NS ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗
FCR(1st wk) NS NS ∗NS ∗∗∗ NS ∗∗
FCR(2nd wk) NS NS ∗∗ NS ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗
FCR(3rd wk) NS NS ∗∗∗ NS ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗ ∗∗∗
NS =nonsigniﬁcant; ∗P<.05; ∗∗P<.01; ∗∗∗ P<.001.
∗P: counteraction between energy and protein; E∗F: interaction between energy and feed form; P∗F: interaction between
protein and feed form; E∗P∗F: interaction between energy, protein, and feed form.
of diﬀerent levels of energy on FCR in the pellet diets was
insigniﬁcant except for the 2nd week (Tables 2and 3).
The results of this study are in agreement with those of
Onwudike andTemimetal. who reported that feed
eﬃciency was improved with increasing dietary CP levels
for broiler chicks. The results were also in accordance with
those of Jackson et al.  who noted that feed eﬃciency
increased with increasing levels of dietary protein or energy.
The ﬁndings of this study are supported by Leeson et al.
 who reported improved feed eﬃciency with 22 and 24%
CP and 3000 Kcal ME/kg as compared with diets with 20%
CP and 2600 Kcal ME/kg. Ferguson et al. reportedan
increase in FCR when CP was reduced from 21.5 to 19.6%
in a six-week broiler growth trial. Similarly, Si et al. 
reported a signiﬁcant eﬀect of dietary CP on FCR. Nawaz
et al.  also reported that low-ME and high-CP diets
promised optimum performance for broiler chicks at both
starter and ﬁnisher phases which is in agreement with the
result of this study.
It is concluded that feeding crumble-pellets from 1 to 21
days of age improved BW and FCR and that an increase in the
protein (unlike energy) content of the diet increased pellet
performance at the end of the third week. In conclusion, it
is obvious that feeding crumble-pellets from 1 to 21 days
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