Differential response of ducks and chicks to dietary sorghum tannins

Robert G. Elkin, John C. Rogler, Thomas W. Sullivan

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13 Scopus citations


White Pekin ducklings were reared in floor pens and given access to nipple‐type waterers in order to eliminate a feeding behaviour previously observed in battery brooder‐raised ducks in which sorghum tannins were possibly detoxicated by exposure of the ground grain to water. High‐tannin sorghum (HTS)—soya bean meal and low‐tannin sorghum (LTS)—soya bean meal diets, suboptimal in protein, with or without supplemental methionine, and either in dry mash or pellet form, were fed to both day‐old ducks and chicks for either 14 or 17 days, respectively. The chicks were reared in battery brooders. In contrast to previous findings with ducks raised in battery brooders, HTS‐fed ducks reared in floor pens exhibited reduced weight gain and feed efficiency values compared with LTS‐fed ducks. However, the magnitude of the growth depression caused by feeding ducks HTS versus LTS was much less than that observed in chicks fed the identical diets (17 versus 33%, respectively). Methionine supplementation of the HTS diets completely overcame the reduced weight gain in ducks, but feed efficiency values were still significantly poorer than those of ducks fed methionine‐supplemented LTS diets. In contrast, although HTS‐fed chicks responded to dietary methionine supplementation, they still exhibited poorer weight gain and feed eficiency values compared with birds fed LTS diets similarly supplemneted. Increasing the dietary level of supplemental methionine did not result in any further improvement in performance of chicks fed either LTS‐ or HTS‐based diets. It was concluded that, compared with chicken, ducks are less affected by dietary sorghum tannins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-553
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the science of food and agriculture
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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