Performance of broiler chickens given whey in the food and/or drinking water

Br Poult Sci. 2005 Aug;46(4):498-505. doi: 10.1080/00071660500190900.


1. The effects on food intake and weight gain of offering broiler chickens (2 to 7 weeks of age) dry food, wet food, wet food containing whey, whey as drinking liquid and combinations of two of these were studied in 5 experiments. 2. Wet feed generally improved both weight gain and feed efficiencies significantly. Feeding whey also improved weight gain and feed conversion efficiency, but whey offered as a drinking fluid had an adverse effect on broiler performance. 3. When whey was offered both as drinking liquid and added to the food it had a deleterious effect. 4. When whey was offered from 4 or 6 weeks of age, it had a better effect than when offered from 2 weeks of age. 5. There was better performance when whey in the drinking water was diluted and/or offered on alternate days or half-days. 6. Broilers allowed to choose between wet and dry feed when water was freely available chose mostly dry feed; in the absence of drinking water they chose mostly wet food. Birds offered water and liquid whey avoided whey completely. 7. It is concluded that whey can be used in diets for broiler chickens by incorporating it in the food as long as drinking water is offered ad libitum. Whey may be offered as a drink if the food is mixed with 1.8 times its weight of water but it is better to dilute the whey with an equal volume of water whether it is added to food or given as drink. Good results can also be obtained when undiluted whey is offered alternately with water, either in half-day or full-day periods.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Diet
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drinking*
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Water / chemistry*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects
  • Whey Proteins


  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins
  • Water