The aim of this study was to determine the influence of dietary prebiotic and high-fiber ingredients on growth performance, nutrient utilization, volatile fatty acid production, and gut microbiome of broiler chickens. On d 0 post hatching, 384 male broiler chickens [initial body weight (BW) = 45.7 ± 3.0 g] were assigned to 4 diets in a randomized complete block design with BW as a blocking factor. Each experimental group consisted of 12 replicate cages with 8 birds per cage. Experimental diets were prepared as a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with 2 diet types [i.e., low fiber (LF) and high fiber (HF)] and the addition of prebiotic in diets at 0 or 0.5 g/kg. Dried fermentation product (DFP) was used as a prebiotic. The LF diet was prepared based on corn and soybean meal, while the HF diet included wheat middlings, rice bran, and coconut meal. On d 0 to 7, broiler chickens fed HF diets had greater (P = 0.008) gain-to-feed ratio compared to those fed LF diets. On d 7 to 14, BW gain, feed intake, and gain-to-feed ratio of birds fed DFP were greater (P < 0.05) than those fed diets without DFP. The addition of DFP increased the apparent total tract metabolizability (ATTM) of dry matter and crude protein in LF diets, but not in HF diets (interaction P < 0.05). Birds fed LF diets had greater (P < 0.001) ATTM of gross energy and crude fat compared to those fed HF diets. The ATTM of gross energy in diets containing DFP was greater (P = 0.004) than in diets without DFP. The concentration of butyrate in cecal digesta of birds fed LF diets was greater (P = 0.019) than birds fed HF diets. The alpha diversity of bacterial community in both ileal and cecal digesta were not affected by either dietary fibrous ingredients or DFP addition. However, the beta diversity of bacterial community in cecal digesta was influenced by dietary DFP when estimated by unweighted UniFrac distances (P = 0.037).
In conclusion, the addition of DFP in diets may increase the nutrient and energy utilization of diets, leading to an improved growth performance of broiler chickens. Dietary fiber contents influenced the utilization of nutrients and energy and production of butyrate in the ceca. Bacterial community in cecal digesta from broiler chickens was influenced by dietary DFP inclusion.