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The evaluation of sorghum contaminated with ergot on broiler chicken performance
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The objective of these four experiments was to conduct an evaluation of the performance of broiler chickens fed sorghum contaminated with ergot sphacelia/sclerotia of Claviceps africana present in tailings removed by conditioning of seed from grain sorghum hybrid seed production gelds near Uvalde (Experiments 1 and 2) and Dumas (Experiments 3 and 4), Texas. Percentage of sphacelia/sclerotia and total alkaloid content, respectively, in the sorghum contaminated with ergot tailings were 8% and 11.3 ppm for Uvalde, and 75% and 235 ppm for Dumas in Experiment 3. Total alkaloid content in the extracted Dumas sample in Experiment 4 was 266.9 ppm. All diets were based on the NRC (1994) requirements for broilers. Hatch to 3-week-old male broilers in Experiment 1 fed sorghum contaminated with ergot showed significant reduction in growth at week three. Relative liver weights in ergot fed birds were significantly greater than control. Hatch to 6-week-old straight-run broilers in Experiment 2 were raised on a three-phase feeding program. Sorghum contaminated with ergot significantly reduced growth in broilers at Weeks 4, 5, and 6. Feed conversion was significantly reduced during all three phases of feeding. In Experiment 3, control sorghum and the 75% ergot tailings were added to corn-soy basal diets at 2.5, 5, and 10% by weight. These male chicks were fed from hatch to 3-weeks of age. Sorghum contaminated with ergot did not significantly reduce growth, but, during Weeks 2 and 3, feed conversions were significantly higher. Neither type nor concentration of sorghum contaminated with ergot significantly affected relative liver weights. In Experiment 4, alkaloids were extracted from ergot sphacelia/sclerotia, added to a corn-soy basal diet, and fed from hatch to 4-week-old male broilers. Sorghum contaminated with ergot significantly increased feed conversion in Week 2. Significantly higher levels of glucose and triglycerides were found in broilers fed sorghum contaminated with ergot. We did not observe significant mortality or obvious signs of ergot toxicity, such as necrotic lesions of the feet or comb, in any of the four experiments. We can conclude that the effects of sorghum contaminated with ergot on broilers will be negligible to broiler production operations.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 53-55).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Fazzino, Johnny Joseph (1999). The evaluation of sorghum contaminated with ergot on broiler chicken performance. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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