Reducing the cost of production while maintaining or increasing the productivity has been a major challenge of pig industry in Nigeria. This gives rise to the use of processing techniques that improve the utilization of relatively cheap feed ingredients. Extrusion cooking process has the potential of improving the digestibility and absorption of rice bran by solubilizing high fibre, deactivating anti-nutritional factors and stabilizing lipolytic enzyme activities in rice bran. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of extruded rice bran based diets on the performance, intestinal microbiota and morphology of weaned pigs. Forty-eight female Large White × Landrace weaned pigs were randomly allotted to three treatments consisting of a control (T1) with 30% inclusion level of raw rice bran; T2 with 30% inclusion level of extruded rice bran extruded at 100 °C, T3 with 30% inclusion level of extruded rice bran extruded at 120 °C. The final body weight, weight gain, and feed conversion ratio were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in pigs on T3 compared with the control group. Morphology data for the small intestine showed that T3 had higher villi (604.15 μm 10−6) and crypt depth (153.86 μm 10−6) in comparison with the other treatments. Extrusion cooking processing techniques had a positive impact on body weight gain and feed conversion ratio of the experimental animals as well as improved their intestinal microbiota and morphology.
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