Objective: To compare the effects of adding diatomite (D) and natural zeolite (NZ) into diets on broiler chicks’ performance and percentage of moisture in the litter.
Design: Completely randomized design.
Animals: Six hundred day-old male Ross 208 broiler chicks. Procedure: Chicks were randomly assigned to five treatments divided into four replicates. Five diets were employed for each treatment in this experiment. One treatment received a diet without addition of diatomite and zeolite. Four other treatments fed diets containing different levels of diatomite and zeolite (2 % Diatomite, 3 % Diatomite, 3 % Zeolite, and I % Diatomite + 2 % Zeolite). The chicks were maintained on their dietary treatments FOr48 days. Body weight (BW) feed intake (Fl) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were determined for each treatment at 21, 42 and 48 days of age. For evaluation of litter condition, the litter moisture for each group of treatments at 21,28,35, 42 and 48 days of age were determined. Statistical analysis: Data for all response variables were subjected to ANOVA. Variable means for treatments showing significant differences in the ANOVA were compared using the Tukey’s test. Results: At the end of the experiment, addition of 3% zeolite and combination of 1% diatomite + 2% zeolite into diets significantly decreased BW (P< 0.05). No significant differences were observed among BWs of chicks in control and treatments fed diets containing 2% or 3% diatomite. Among treatment groups, only addition of combination of 1% diatomite + 2% zeolite increased FCR significantly (P< 0.05). There were no significant differences among litter moisture of experimental treatments (P< 0.05). The best litter condition was belonged to group that received diet supplemented with 3% ditomitc.
Conclusion: obtained results indicated that at the end of this experimental trial period, addition of diatomite and natural zeolite into diets did not caused any significant improvement on 8W, FCR and litter moisture in broiler chicks. However, since addition of 3% diatomite into diet, partially decreased litter moisture, and there was no significant difference between performance of chicks fed this diet and control, it seems that inclusion of diatomnite up to 3% in broiler diets could be recommended for reducing litter moisture. J.Fac. Vet. Med. Univ. Tehran. 57, 2: 19-24, 2002.