Wood Sugar Molasses as a Feedstuff for Laying Hens*

Wood Sugar Molasses as a Feedstuff for Laying Hens*

Wood Sugar Molasses as a Feedstuff for Laying Hens* W . T . COONEY AND J . E . PARKER Oregon State College, Corvallis, Oregon (Received for publicatio...

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Wood Sugar Molasses as a Feedstuff for Laying Hens* W . T . COONEY AND J . E . PARKER Oregon State College, Corvallis, Oregon (Received for publication July 30, 1951)


* Published as Technical Paper No. 697 with the approval of the Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Contribution of the Department of Poultry Husbandry.

cal gains when incorporated in fattening rations for broilers managed in battery equipment. Ten percent cane molasses in laying rations produced watery droppings. Maw (1933) fed rations containing 0, 1.25, 5, and 6.25 percent cane molasses to pullets with no material effect on feed consumption. Egg production and mortality were slightly lower and water intake was increased in the lots fed molasses. Norris and Heuser (1935) found that five to ten percent cane molasses could be substituted for an equal amount of corn meal in poultry laying mashes. Ten percent produced a slight diarrhea at the beginning of each experiment but the condition was only temporary. Upp (1937) fed rations containing 5, 7.5, and 10 percent cane molasses to Leghorn pullets. Feed intake, egg production, egg size, body weight, and other changes were nearly equal to those obtained on the control ration. Hatchability, water intake, and mortality were increased when the birds were fed molasses. As a result of these feeding trials a substitution of five to seven percent molasses for grain in rations of laying hens was recommended when justified by prices. Ott, Boucher and Knandel (1942) incorporated cane molasses in rations for chicks and laying hens and found performance was not significantly influenced by levels up to six percent of the total ration. This higher level was also found to be satisfactory from the standpoint of not being too laxative. McGinnis, MacGregor and Carver


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ANE and beet molasses have been accepted and used as feedstuffs in livestock rations for a number of years. Their basic nutritive value appears to be in their carbohydrate content. These products, however, are also reasonably good sources of such vitamins as biotin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and niacin. Cane and beet molasses are comparatively high in mineral elements varying from 6 to 10 percent of the total weight. (Ewing, 1947; Morrison, 1948; Titus, 1949). Acceptance and use of molasses as a feed stuff for poultry have in general been slow. Winter (1929) reported results from feeding cane molasses to pullet and laying hens at 5, 10, and 15 percent levels. The product produced a mild laxative effect while feed intake and egg production were only slightly less than that obtained from the control birds. Mortality was reported to have been less in the lots fed molasses than in the controls. Winter felt that cane molasses could be used to replace cereal grains pound for pound up to ten percent of the total ration for developing pullets and laying hens. Bice (1933) found that cane molasses was a satisfactory feed for chicks, growing pullets, and cockerels when fed in amounts not to exceed seven percent of the ration. Levels of molasses up to fifteen percent resulted in economi-



(1948) carried out an experiment with New Hampshire chicks for the purpose of determining to what extent chicks could utilize molasses prepared from the hydrolyzation of wood waste. This product was fed to duplicate lots of one week old chicks for a three-week test period at the 0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 percent levels. None of these levels of wood sugar molasses produced any laxative effect. There was a

dicate that it should equal the feeding value of cane or beet molasses. This would be true if the product was found to be free of harmful residues from the wood. MATERIALS AND METHODS

Through the cooperation of the Oregon Forest Products Laboratory and the Forest Utilization Service of the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment

TABLE 1.-—Experimental rations % Molasses— 0 % Beet Pulp— 0 .

Millrun Wheat, ground Corn, ground Oats, ground Barley, ground Beet pulp, dry Wood sugar molassesi Alfalfa meal, dehyd. Soybean oil meal Fish meal, herring Meat meal Skimmilk, dry Bone meal Oyster shell flour Salt, fine Irradiated animal sterol Feeding oil (400 D-3000A) Manganese supplement Riboflavin Total

Lbs. 10.0 26.7 16.7 16.7 3.4 0.0 0.0 3.4 10.0 3.4 3.4 3.4 1.8 0.5 0.4 0.04 0.2 0.01 67 mg. 100.05

tendency for growth to be lower on the higher levels, but the chicks were not significantly smaller than those receiving a ration without molasses. The.se investigators concluded that wood sugar molasses could be used satisfactorily in chick rations as a substitute for cereal grains when supplemented with additional protein such as that from soybean oil meal. Since wood sugar molasses can be economically prepared in the Northwest from Douglas-fir wastes of the lumber industry, it was deemed desirable to determine the value of the product as a grain substitute in rations for laying and breeding hens. Reports on the sugar content in-

0 Lbs. 10.0 23.4 14.6 14.6 3.4 0.0 7.5 3.4 10.0 3.4 3.4 3.4 1.8 0.5 0.4 0.04 0.2 0.01 67 mg. 100.05

15 0 Lbs. 10.0 20.1 12.5 12.5 3.4 0.0 15.0 3.4 10.0 3.4 3.4 3.4 1.8 0.5 0.4 0.04 0.2 0.01 67 mg. 100.05

n Lbs. 10.0 20.1 12.5 12.5 3.4 7.5 7.5 3.4 10.0 3.4 3.4 3.4 1.8 0.5 0.4 0.04 0.2 0.01 67 mg. 100.05

Station a quantity of wood sugar molasses was received by the Experiment Station from the U. S. Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin. This molasses was produced by hydrolyzation of Douglas-fir waste and neutralized with lime. It had been concentrated to a sugar content of approximately 50 percent. Harris (1950) reported that the sugar was made up of approximately 85 percent hexose and 15 percent pentose sugars. The hexose sugars were primarily glucose with lesser amounts of galactose and mannose. The pentose sugars were largely xylose. The wood sugar molasses was incorporated in an all mash ration as a partial re-

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S. C. White Leghorn pullets were used in the two experiments. They were range reared and kept throughout the test periods in individual wire-floored cages. Only birds in apparent good health and free from physical defects were selected and retained for this work. Until the experimental rations could be provided, all birds were fed the control ration. Egg production was comparable in the several groups of pullets during this pre-experimental period. Twenty-four pullets made up each of the four lots during the year 1948-49, and thirty six pullets were started in each of the four lots for the 1949-50 year. Management conditions were the same for all birds throughout each experiment. Feed and production records were considered for a 304 day period the first year and for a 273 day period the second year. After the pullets had been fed their respective rations for three months, yolk color determinations were made each month thereafter, on all eggs produced during a one day period. A Heiman-Carver yolk color roter was used for this purpose. During the spring months of the second

year, eggs were saved for hatchability studies over a seven day period three different times from all experimental lots. The pullets were artificially inseminated with pooled Leghorn semen two days prior to each of these three egg-saving periods. All eggs produced each day during the saving periods were identified by lot number, then trayed together as a unit an incubated. All unhatched eggs were broken out and inspected macroscopically. Observations were made from time to time on the general appearance of the pullets, their apparent acceptance for the ration fed, and the condition of their droppings. Each time that it became necessary to mix feed for any one lot all remaining feed for the other three lots was discarded. New rations were then compounded from a common basal. A one hundred pound sample of feed was saved from each lot of the new rations and held under conditions comparable to those found on many farms and in small warehouses throughout the feeding period of each batch for the purpose of determining whether the original sacked weight would be altered. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Egg production, feed consumption, feed conversion, and mortality data are presented in Table 2. All averages are weighted figures for the two test periods. Production by* months for each lot of birds is shown in Figure 1. Pullets receiving 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses as a substitute for an equal amount of ground grains took the lead in egg production during the first month of each of the two years. It was only during the last two months that any of the other lots excelled in production (Figure 1). For the two years, birds fed 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses had an average production advantage of 5.3 percent over those fed the control ration. This repre-

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placement for the cereal grains wheat, corn, and oats. This replacement was made at the 7 1/2 and 15 percent levels for the combined grains without correction for moisture content and other nutrients. Another experimental lot was established by using 7 1/2 percent dry beet pulp along with 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses as a replacement for 15 percent of the above three grains. Two feeding experiments were conducted; one commencing November 1, 1948 and ending August 30, 1949; the other commencing November 1, 1949 and ending July 31, 1950. Composition of the rations fed in the two feeding trials are shown in Table 1. In addition to these rations the birds had free access to cracked oyster shell and running water.




sents a difference of approximately fifteen eggs per bird and compares favorably with other trials at this station in which similar gains were made with supplemental feeds. The feed consumption data (Table 2) suggest t h a t the increased production on the 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses ration may have been clue to a greater

and food intake was excessive in comparison to the controls. Egg production and efficiency of feed use were also reduced when birds were fed the ration containing 7 1/2 percent dry beet pulp and 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses. I t would appear t h a t the dry beet pulp possessed little or no nutritional value for laying birds.

M i ii 1948 — 4 9 15% W.S. MOLASSES


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F I G . 1. Egg production b y m o n t h s for the two test periods.

total food intake. Birds on this ration consumed approximately 12 pounds of feed more per bird than did those fed the control ration. On a computed dry weight basis this is an added food intake of approximately 8.4 pounds of dry matter per bird. The increased food intake was so well reflected in egg output t h a t there is no significant difference in pounds of feed required to produce one dozen eggs between the two rations. Fifteen percent wood sugar molasses was more than the birds could use efficiently. Egg production was adversely affected throughout the two experiments

This is in agreement with unpublished data obtained at this station with dry beet pulp in partial replacement of cereal grains. In all instances where wood sugar molasses was fed there was an increase in total feed intake as compared to the control ration. This increased food intake was practically the same on a dry weight basis for the birds fed 15 percent molasses and those fed 7 1/2 percent dry beet pulp plus 7 1/2 percent molasses; 5.9 pounds and 5.7 pounds respectively. As previously indicated, pullets receiving 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses in their ration as a

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replacement for an equal amount of grain consumed 8.4 pounds more dry matter per bird than pullets on the control ration. The droppings became darker in color and stickier in consistency as the level of wood sugar molasses was increased in the ration. During the early part of each experiment both the 7 1/2 and 15 percent levels of wood sugar molasses brought

Results from the hatchability studies are shown in Table 3. The figures are totals and averages for all eggs saved through three seven-day production periods. For reasons that cannot be explained by available data, fertile eggs from birds fed 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses consistently hatched better than those produced by birds fed the control ration or

TABLE 2,—Egg production, feed consumption, feed conversion and mortality data Feed Consumption per bird


n% Wood Sugar Molasses

15% Wood Sugar Molasses

71% Wood Sugar Molasses and


Production (Hen-day basis) Actual

Dry weight (Computed)



Dry weight (Computed)

1948-49 1949-50

Percent 62.2 57.7

Pounds 82.1 75.1

Pounds 73.6 67.5

Pounds 5.2 5.7

Pounds 4.7 5.1

Percent 45.8 38.9








1948-49 1949-50

66.4 63,6

99.1 81.9

86.5 71.4

5.9 5.7

5.1 5.0

29.2 22.2








1948-49 1949-50

57.0 53.8

95.8 84.6

81.1 71.7

6.6 6.9

5.6 5.8 .

20.8 27.9








1948-49 1949-50

52.8 58.4

84.2 90.4

73.5 78.9

6.3 6.8

5.5 5.9

37.5 19.4








n% Beet Pulp

about a mild diarrhea. This however, was partially overcome with no apparent ill effects. Birds fed molasses had a better general appearance and were more active. This observation tends to be substantiated by the mortality data in Table 2. These results indicate that the birds derived some beneficial value from the wood sugar molasses. In every instance mortality was less when the molasses was present in the ration.

the 15 percent wood sugar molasses ration. These differences are statistically significant. The frequency distribution of the eggs according to yolk color is given in Table 4. Although there is a tendency for the eggs from pullets fed 7 1/2 and 15 percent molasses to have darker colored yolks, the differences are1 probably not great enough to be of practical importance. Complete records on body weight

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Feed Consumed per dozen eggs produced



of wood sugar molasses on hatchability Percent hatch

Ration Control

74% Wood Sugar Molasses


Wood Sugar Molasses &

. Eggs incubated

1 2 3

101 86 97

87 56 61

63 44 49

Total Average




1 2 3

118 91 172

104 62 70

90 53 60

, Total Average




1 2 3

116 80 81

105 52 38

83 32 28

Total Average




1 2 3

95 110 111

76 97 82

58 85 63

Total Average




Fertile eggs

Chicks hatched

All eggs

Fertile eggs

62.4 51.2 53.3

72.4 78.6 80.3


76.5 .

76.3 58.2 34.9

86.5 85.5 85.7



71.6 40.0 34.6

79.1 61.5 73.7



61.1 77.3 56.8

76.3 87.6 76.8




Beet Pulp

changes are available for only the second year's work. The figures given in Table 5 are average weights for birds that survived the test period. The ration fed had little if any influence upon body weight. TABLE 4.—Yolk-color variations obtained over a two year period from eggs produced by birds fed rations with and without wood sugar molasses Experimental rations HeimanCarver yolk-color index number

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 IS 16


Percent 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 13.6 45.0 33.0 7.4 0.0 0.0

7J% Wood sugar molasses

Percent 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 7.8 38.3 42.6 10.3 1.0 0.0

15% Wood sugar molasses

Percent 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 6.2 42.0 39.8 11.0 0.0 0.0

74% Wood sugar molasses and


beet pulp Percent 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 12.7 45.6 28.1 12.1 0.5 0.0

During the two years, eight separate batches of feed were made for each of the four rations. The length of time that a batch of feed lasted varied from 56 days to 70 days with an average time interval of 62 days. Throughout each of these eight periods 100 pound samples of the four rations were held in burlap bags under farm storage conditions for the purpose of making weight change determinations. Over the eight holding periods the control ration lost four tenths of a pound per hundred weight; the two rations with 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses' lost approximately five tenths of a pound; and the ration with 15 percent wood sugar molasses lost approximately seven tenths of a pound. It would appear that as the molasses content in a ration is increased there will be a slight increase in weight loss if the handling and storage period of the

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15% Wood Sugar Molasses

Hatch number



TABLE 5.—Body weights of White Leghorn pullets during the 1949-50 experiment Experimental rations

Control 1i% Molasses 15% Molasses 7^% Beet Pulp plus 7^% Molasses

Average body weight

Number of survivors



21 27 26

Pounds 3.9 4.2 4.0

Pounds 4.0 4.2 4.0


4.2 .


mixed feed approaches or exceeds two months in duration.

Seven and one-half percent wood sugar molasses fed to Leghorn pullets as a replacement for an equal amount of cereal grains in a laying ration brought about an increase in egg production. This increase in production was apparently an indirect effect through encouragement of an increased consumption of total dry matter. The increase in egg production was large enough to offset the increased feed intake with the result that feed requirements for the production of one dozen eggs were comparable to those on the control ration. Fifteen percent wood sugar molasses or 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses plus 7 1/2 percent dry beet pulp as a replacement for 15 percent cereal grains in a laying ration for Leghorn pullets failed to sustain egg production on the same level as the control ration. These grain replacements also brought about an increase in total food intake with an accompanying excessive feed requirement for each dozen eggs produced. As indicated by total food intake and by observations, rations containing 7 1/2 and 15 percent wood sugar molasses were readily consumed by the birds. The replacement of 7 1/2 percent and 15 percent cereal grains in laying rations for Leghorn pullets with equal amounts of wood sugar molasses did not adversely



No change

Percent 57.2 40.8 42.4

Percent 14.3 37.0 34.6

Percent 28.5 22.2 23.0




affect body weight, livability, or color of the egg yolks. There was some indication that livability was favorably# influenced by the inclusion of wood sugar molasses in the ration. Hatchability was improved when 7 1/2 percent wood sugar molasses replaced an equal amount of cereal grains. This was not true at the 15 percent level. The droppings increased in volume and became stickier as the level of wood sugar molasses was increased in the ration. Soon after incorporation of molasses in the rations mild diarrhea appeared. The condition was partially overcome with no apparent resulting ill effects. Over eight holding periods of approximately two months each in duration, the control ration lost an average of 0.4 percent of its original weight. As the wood sugar molasses content of the mixed feeds was increased to the 15 percent level there was an added increase in weight loss up to approximately 0.3 percent of the original weight, or a total weight loss of 0.7 percent for the two month holding period. ACKNOWLEDGMENT Funds for carrying on the research reported in this paper were made available by the Oregon Forest Products Laboratory. The authors wish also to acknowledge the assistance of the following people in providing and acquiring analytical data, materials, mixing facilities, and in offer-

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Weight changes undergone by survivors


A. A R N O L D , M . E. A U E R B A C H , J. R. S H E P H E R D AND S. D .

ing suggestions for the conduct of certain phases of this work: Dr. J. R. Haag, Chemist, Dept. of Agri. Chemistry, Oregon Agri. Exp. Sta., Corvallis, Oregon. R. M. Alexander, and R. W. Henderson, Assistants to the Director, Oregon Agri. Exp. Sta., Corvallis, Oregon. Dr. P. B. Proctor, Technical Director, Oregon Forest Products Laboratory, Corvallis, Oregon. (Now on military leave.) Dr. E. G. Locke, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Exp. Sta., Portland, Oregon. (Recently transferred to Madison, Wise.) Dr. E. E. Harris, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin.

feed. Forest Products Laboratory Report R. 1731, Forest Service U. S. Dept. of Agri.: 3-4. Maw, A. J., 1933. Feeding cane molasses to growing chicks and laying hens. Sci. Agri. 13: 743-745. McGinnis, J., H. I. MacGregor and J. S. Carver, 1948. Wood sugar molasses as a feedstuff for chicks. Poultry Sci. 27: 459-461. Morrison, F. B., 1948. Feeds and feeding. The Morrison Publishing Co.: 608, 1122, 1124, 1158, 1164, 1166. Norris, L..C, and G. F. Heuser, 1935. The nutritive properties of poultry feedstuffs. Cornell Rept. 130. Ott, W. H., R. V. Boucher and H. C. Knandel, 1942. Feeding cane molasses as a constituent of Poultry rations. I—Molasses for growing chickens. Poultry Sci. 21: 340-345. II—Molasses for adult chickens. Poultry Sci. 21: 536-539. Titus, H. W., 1949. The scientific feeding of chickens. The Interstate: 168, 218, 222, 226, 228, 235. Upp, C. W., 1937. Cane molasses in poultry rations. Louisiana Agri. Exp. Sta. Bui. 289. Winter, A. R., 1929. Cane molasses for poultry. Poultry Sci. 8: 369-373.

T h e Biological Availability of Riboflavin Solubilized with Sodium 3-Hydroxy2-Naphthoate A A R O N ARNOLD, M O R R I S E. A U E R B A C H , J E S S Y R. H E R D AND SHIRLEY D .



Sterling-Winthrop Research Institute, Rensselaer, New York (Received for publication July 30,1951)


H E limited solubility of riboflavin in water, 12 mg. per 100 ml., has stimulated investigations towards producing biologically active derivatives which would have greater water solubility. These are desired for high potency pharmaceutical vitamin preparations and for use in feeds because the spraying of the vitamin in water solutions on feeds is a preferred method for assuring uniform distribution. As another approach to the problem of obtaining large amounts of the vitamin in solution, several investigators have sug-

gested the use of agents which act b y solubilizing the vitamin. Furter, H a a s and Rubin (1945) have reviewed the difficulties attending the preparation of soluble riboflavin derivatives, the primary one being the readiness with which the biological activity falls off as soon as promising solubility properties are acquired. Greater success has been achieved through the use of compounds which simply solubilize the vitamin. Among the most useful of these appear to be salts of

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REFERENCES Bice, C. M., 1933. Cane molasses for poultry. Hawaii Bui. 67. Ewing, W. R., 1947. Poultry nutrition. W. Ray Ewing: 368-371, 862, 949. Harris, E. E., 1950. Hydrolysis of wood for stock