Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness


H.L. Goodwin

Committee Member

Lawton Nalley

Second Committee Member

Karen Christensen

Third Committee Member

Craig Coon


All-vegetable, Antibiotics, Broiler, Diet, Direct-fed Microbial, Fat Emulsifier


Currently, several niche markets, such as organic and “all natural”, are marketed within the poultry industry. However, little research has been undertaken to determine the cost-effectiveness of poultry diets used to produce chicken within these markets. Specifically, the economics and resulting profits associated with raising chicken with antibiotic-free, all-vegetable (AV) diets are not evaluated. As national chain restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread begin to mandate poultry suppliers raise chicken without antibiotics and use AV diets, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate the economics for integrators. Given the rapidly changing feeding strategies necessary to respond to consumers’ and wholesalers’ demands for this niche poultry, this study assesses new feeding approaches to compare their economic viability. This study focuses on the effects of feeding a proprietary vegetable protein supplement on broiler growth, feed consumption and thus performance and carcass yields. This study also identifies a feed supplement that contains additional fat sources compared to a conventional diet, as well as including probiotics to increase feed efficiency. An experiment was used to compare various custom and proprietary poultry feeds to an AV control diet by using data generated through fourteen hundred forty male broilers. Diets were formulated to accommodate ever-changing needs related to protein, energy, and nutrient requirements of the broilers; therefore, the study consists of a starter, grower, finisher, and withdrawal diet. The eight treatments within the study were: 1) All-vegetable control; 2) AV diet supplemented with a direct fed microbial (DFM); 3) All-vegetable diet with a fat emulsifier (FE); 4) All-vegetable diet containing both DFM and FE; 5) an all-vegetable proprietary blend (PB); 6) PB supplemented with the DFM; 7) PB and a FE; 8) PB containing both the DFM and FE. At 50 days of age, following an 8-hour feed withdrawal, broilers were processed to determine the economic value of each treatment through average weights and carcass yields from breasts, wings, and leg quarters. Data was analyzed using SAS. Results showed that body weights were significantly lower for 42 day old birds fed Treatment 8, concluding that a price discount is necessary for this product to remain competitive.