Rye is not recommended for growing chickens (i.e., broilers and pullets) and turkeys. Including high levels of rye in poultry diets typically causes problems for graining chicks. The problem is the water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans. They are present in low amounts in rye (about 3.5%) and interfere with digestion of all nutrients in the diet, but especially the fats, fat-soluble vitamins, starch and protein. Chicks fed diets with rye produce a wet and sticky excreta. There is also a higher moisture level in litter, increasing the problem of ammonia production.

Rye may be fed to laying hens but should be introduced only after the hens have reached peak egg product ton (about 40 weeks of age). Rye should not be more than 40% of the diet. They may have sticky droppings which can increase the incidence of of stained eggs.

There are commercial enzymes available that can counteract the negative effects of the rye.


Characteristics of rye as a feed grain (University of Saskatchewan)

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