Use of Rice Bran in Poultry Diets

Organic Agriculture November 25, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Before using any feed ingredient, make sure that the ingredient is organic and that it is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.


Rice bran is a byproduct of the rice industry. The bran is the hard outer layer of rice grains that is removed when processing brown rice into white.


Rice bran is rich in protein and fat. It also contains high levels of the B-vitamins, vitamin E, and some trace minerals.

Nutrient content of rice bran (Batal and Dale, 2010)

  • Dry matter: 91%
  • Metabolizable energy: 2040 kcal/kg (1000 kcal/lb)
  • Crude protein: 13.5%
    • Methionine: 0.17%
    • Cysteine: 0.10%
    • Lysine: 0.50%
    • Tryptophan: 0.10%
    • Threonine: 0.40%
  • Crude fat: 5.9%
  • Crude fiber: 13.0%
  • Ash: 11.0%
    • Calcium: 0.10%
    • Total phosphorus: 1.70%
    • Non-phytate phosphorus: 0.24%

Feeding Rice Bran

Rice bran is prone to rancidity, has a high phytate content, contains an enzyme inhibitor (trypsin inhibitor), and is high in fiber (Gallinger et al., 2004). These characteristics have limited the use of rice bran in poultry diets. A maximum of 10-20% is recommended in broiler diets, depending on the geographical origin of the rice and the level of supplemental enzymes used (Martin and Farrell, 1998a).

Recommended inclusion levels in broiler diets vary from 10 to 20% (Gallinger et al., 2004 and Farrell, 1994, respectively). Gallinger et al. (2004) reported that inclusion of 20% rice bran in broiler diets resulted in reduced growth performance. In addition, adding just 10% rice bran reduced feed efficiency and tibia ash content. Others have recommended that rice bran not be include in diets of broilers less than 21 days of age (Martin and Farrell, 1998b).

Higher levels are possible with ducklings and laying hens (Farrel, 1994). While 60% rice bran has been successfully used in layer diets, an upper limit of 45% is more widely accepted (Farrell, 1994). The use of feed enzymes has had only limited success, although phytase has been shown to increase phosphorus availability (Farrell, 1994). When including high levels of rice bran in duckling diets, the inclusion of 5% fish meal has been shown to increase growth performance (Martin et al., 1998).

References and Citations

  • Batal, A., and N. Dale. 2010. Feedstuffs Ingredient Analysis Table: 2011 edition. [Online]. Feedstuffs. (verified 23 Nov 2013)
  • Farrell, D. J. 1994. Utilization of rice bran in diets for domestic fowl and ducklings. World's Poultry Science Journal 50:115–131. (Available for purchase at: (verified 23 Nov 2013)
  • Gallinger, C. I., D. M. Suárez, and A. Irazusta. 2004. Effects of rice bran inclusion on performance and bone mineralization in broiler chicks. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 13:183–190. (Available online at: (verified 23 Nov 2013)
  • Martin, E. A. 1998. Strategies to improve the nutritive value of rice bran in poultry diets. IV. Effects of addition of fish meal and a microbial phytase to duckling diets on bird performance and amino acid digestibility. British Poultry Science 39:612–621. (Available online at: (verified 23 Nov 2013)
  • Martin, E. A., and D. J. Farrell. 1998a. Strategies to improve the nutritive value of rice bran in poultry diets. I. The addition of food enzymes to target the non-starch polysaccharide fractions in diets of chickens and ducks gave no response. British Poultry Science 39:549–554. (Available online at: (verified 23 Nov 2013)
  • Martin, E. A., and D. J. Farrell. 1998b. Strategies to improve the nutritive value of rice bran in poultry diets. II. Changes in oil digestibility, metabolisable energy and attempts to increase the digestibility of the oil fraction in the diets of chickens and turkeys. British Poultry Science 39:555–559. (Available online at: (verified 23 Nov 2013)

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.