Corn as a Nutrient for Growing chicks*

Corn as a Nutrient for Growing chicks*

CORN AS A NUTRIENT FOR GROWING CHICKS* F. E. MUSSEHL·, ROSCOE HILL AND J. A. ROSBNBAUM University of Nebraska (Received for Publication 3-20-26) * P...

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(Received for Publication 3-20-26)

* Published with the approval of the Director as Paper No. 24, Journal Series, Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station.


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Greatex interest has probably been taken in nutritional research work with corn and corn products than with any other feedstuff. The large number of references given in Bulletin No. 257 of the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station^ shows that corn nutrition research work is accepted as a primary problem. Corn research work is of special interest to the poultryman because corn is the basic poultry feed, not indispensabble of course, but generally available at a lower price per unit of nutrients than any of the other cereals. This is because no other cereal yields, for a given unit of land and labor, so many units of nutrients. The time of keen competition between humans and animals for the direct use of corn, is probably more remote than with any other common feedstuff. Experimental evidence, too numerous to itemize here, but available in the reference already noted^ indicates that corn is not complete as a nutrient, and an interesting problem expressed from the viewpoint of both science and practice is summarized in the question, " I n what respects is corn deficient as a poultry feed?" Building on the experience of investigators who have worked with the smaller laboratory animals commonly used for nutrition research, it has seemed that systematic inquiry should be made into the (a) ash requirements, (b) protein requirements (quality and quantity) and (c) vitamin requirements. Earlier experiments with-chicks have not always been consistent, probably because the importance of a specific type of radiant energy or of its vitamin equivalent, was not recognized until quite recently. With the establishment of these principles, chick nutrition investigational work should proceed more rapidly and results should be more consistent. The report herein included is intended as a progress statement of work done on one sub-




division of a nutrition problem, and is submitted of course, with a full appreciation of its present incompleteness. EXPERIMENTAL·

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CHAIJT NO. I All rations were given in dry mash form, all ingredients being incorporated in the one mixture which was kept before the chicks at all times. Fresh tap water was furnished all lots except Lot 740 which was given distilled water. The mixture used for the ash additions was one first used by Kennard, Holder and White^

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Twenty-five vigorous and apparently normal Single Comb White Leghorn chicks were placed in each of five lots in this ex­ periment when the chicks were seven days old. We have pre­ ferred chicks approximately a week old because it is possible to eliminate all weaklings more easily than when day old chicks are used. Chicks were brooded with steam and electric brooders and environmental conditions were, we believe, well under con­ trol. All lots were exposed to direct unaltered sunlight on sun­ shiny days and we believe that radiant energy requirements were well satisfied. Judging from a physical examination there were no rachitic chicks in any of the lots at the conclusion of the ex­ periment which covered a period of eight weeks.




The rations used were as follows: Lot 740. Yellow corn 100.0 Distilled water ad libitum Quartz grit. Lot 741. Yellow corn Ash No. 311

97.0 3.0

Yellow corn E g g albumen Ash No. 311

92.0 5.0 3.0


743. 92.0 Yellow corn E g g albumen 5.0 Ash No. 311 3.0 Green alfalfa twice daily 744. Yellow corn Egg albumen Yeast Ash No. 311

87.0 5.0 5.0 3.0

Graphs representing the growth curve of the chicks in each lot are given in Chart No. 1, Mortalities are indicated by small crosses above the line representing the growth curve for each lot, these being placed so as to indicate the point at which the mor­ tality occurred.

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This mixture, consisting of Bone ash 60, calcium carbonate 20; and sodium chloride 20, they concluded to be as effective as more complex mixtures for supplementing rations consisting of corn meal and soy bean meal. Our hypothesis has been that this mineral mixture supplemented our basic corn ration in an equal­ ly satisfactory manner. This ash mixture we have designated as No. 311. For protein additions we used pure egg albumen which had been autoclaved at 15 pounds pressure for one hour. Additions of this cooked egg albumen were made to lots 742, 743 and 744 to bring the level of protein intake Up to 15 per cent. Sixtyseven per cent of the total protein content of these rations was derived from corn and 33% from the egg albumen. The yeast used for the Vitamin Β additions was a commercial grade of feed yeast.





BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 K E I T H , M . H E L E N . A Bibliography of Researches B e a r i n g on t h e Composition a n d N u t r i t i v e Value of Corn a n d Corn Products, Bulletin No. 257 Illinois A g r i c u l t u r a l E x p e r i m e n t Station. 2 K B N N A K D , D . C ; H O L D E B , R . C . ; A N D W H I T E , P . S.



plements to Rations for Chickens; POULTRY SCIESICE, Vol. 1, Feb.-Mar. 1922.

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When radiant energy requirements are satisfied by exposure to direct sunlight, yellow corn as a nutrient for chicks is found to be deficient in ash elements, in preteins, and in vitamin B. We conclude that when the ration consists of 90 per cent yellow corn that Vitamin A requirements are satisfied. A comparison of the growth curves of Lots 743 and 744 shows a slight advantage for Lot 744 though this ration contained less Vitamin A than did the ration for Lot 743. The relatively high requirements which the chick has for Vi^ tamin Β is shown by the growth curves for Lots 742 and 744. The variable in these two lots is the 5 per cent yeast addition which was made to the ration for Lot No. 744. , . , The great importance of the seemingly small things of nutri­ tion is shown by a comparison of growth and mortality history of Lots 741, 742 and 744. The more complete the ration in all,re­ quirements save one, the more severe the shock due to that defi­ ciency.