Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Poultry Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Poultry Science


Billy Hargis

Committee Member

Guillermo Tellez

Second Committee Member

Steven Ricke

Third Committee Member

Sami Dridi

Fourth Committee Member

Ruben Merino


Chicken Lines, Compensatory Growth, Intestinal Physiology, Nutritional Rehabilitation


The World Health Organization, estimated that 22.9% of children under the age of 5 are stunted. The etiology of stunting is multifactorial and is associated with poor linear growth, villous atrophy, dysbiosis, and increased intestinal permeability. Inclusion of rye in poultry diets induces nutrient deficiencies and increases intestinal permeability, dysbiosis and decreases growth rates. The objective of this dissertation was to determine if chickens consuming a rye based diet exhibited a similar pathophysiology of stunted children to develop a relevant animal model. Therefore, early or late phase malnutrition was induced determine the effects of malnutrition on performance, bone mineralization, intestinal morphology and paracellular intestinal leakage across three diverse genetic backgrounds. 2015 Cobb chicken, 1995 Cobb chicken, and the Jungle Fowl were allocated into four different dietary treatments. Dietary treatments were (1) a control corn-based diet throughout the trial (corn–corn); (2) an early phase malnutrition diet where chicks received a rye-based diet for 10 days, and then switched to the control diet (rye–corn); (3) a malnutrition rye-diet that was fed throughout the trial (rye–rye); and (4) a late phase malnutrition diet where chicks received the control diet for 10 days, and then switched to the rye diet (corn–rye). Modern broilers in the rye-corn treatment group exhibited catch up growth and was able to fully recover all of the growth and bone parameters measured after the consumption of a rye based diet. However, the rye-corn group was unable to recover was the serum FITC-D indicating the gut was still leaky. 1995 broilers in the rye-corn group had significantly lower BW, BWG, and tibia strength and higher serum FITC-D than the corn-corn group indicating that these birds were not able to fully recover within the observed timeframe. Jungle fowl appeared to have a higher tolerance to the rye based diet, as there were minimal differences between dietary treatments for the parameters measured. This suggests that a rye-based diet is a viable approach to induce malnutrition in chickens and slower compensatory growth rate observed in the 1995 broilers was similar to that of stunted children in developing countries.