Wheat is used in many countries,especially in Canada and Europe, as the major energy source in poultry diets. Wheat varieties are classified as red or white depending on the seed coat color, hard or soft depending on the kernel texture, and winter or spring depending on time of planting. In terms of feeding value, the main classification of interest is kernel texture since this most strongly effects nutrient composition.

Hard wheat varieties generally have a higher lysine content than soft varieties. The hardness of these wheats is due to the strong binding between the starch and the protein components. Within the hard wheats, protein levels can vary from 10-18% depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Wheat contains water-soluble, highly viscous non-starch polysaccharides referred to as pentosans or arabinoxylans (about 5-8%), which can cause problems with digesta viscosity. Feed enzymes are available to improve performance of chickens feed wheat-based diets.


The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan - Wheat (Canada)

Wheat as a replacement for corn in poultry diets (British Columbia's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Canada)

Feeding whole grains to chickens (Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association - MOFGA)

The feeding of whole wheat to broilers (Poultry Industry Council, Canada)

Back to Grains used in poultry diets