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Millet hulls


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

Millet hulls, millet husks


Millet hulls are the by-product of the dehulling of millet grains for human consumption. The millet species is usually unspecified and the hulls may come from any of the major or minor millet species (including proso millet Panicum miliaceum, pearl millet Pennisetum glaucum and foxtail millet Setaria italica). Millet hulls are a fibrous by-product often used as a filling material (in pillows, for example) but rarely as a livestock feed. However, they have been tested in ruminants, pigs and poultry.

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Millet hulls contain little protein (less than 3% DM) and large amounts of fibre (ADF more than 45% DM), including lignin (more than 11% DM). They are far less nutritive than some other hulls such as soybean hulls, for example.

Potential constraints 

Some millet hulls have been found to contain large amounts of silicon (5.7% DM), which could be irritating for the mouth (Hadorn, 1994). Horses fed proso millet straw have developed severe oral injuries due to the presence of hard awns (Guang YaNong, 1981).


No information is available about the use of millet hulls in ruminants. A USA feed table gives low, but not negligible, Net Energy values of 6.2 and 3.8 MJ/kg DM for beef and dairy cattle respectively (Lardy et al., 2009).


Millet hulls are not a good ingredient for pigs. The only estimate of nutritive value available for pigs is extremely low: 1.1 MJ/kg DM (Wenk et al., 1990). In a diet containing 20% millet hulls, DE content was lowered by 14% and DE intake also decreased, resulting in reduced daily weight gain, feed efficiency and protein and fat retention compared to a control diet (Hadorn et al., 1996c, Hadorn et al., 1996d).


There is limited data on the use of millet hulls in poultry. In an experiment where millet hulls were introduced at 20% in broiler diets, daily weight gain decreased by 5% but it seems that broilers were able to partly compensate for the lower ME content of the hull diets by increasing their feed intake (Hadorn et al., 1996a, Hadorn et al., 1996b).


In weaned rabbits, millet hulls included at 15% in the diet (16% protein) gave significantly higher feed intake, feed efficiency and final weight than the same proportion of rice bran, even though the diet based on rice bran was more digestible. The authors concluded that some specific differences in fibre between rice bran and millet hulls affected the performance of rabbits in favour of millet hulls (Jokthan et al., 2006).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 92.2 91.7 92.6 2
Crude protein % DM 2.4 1.7 3.1 2
Crude fibre % DM 46.4 46.3 46.4 2
NDF % DM 77.4 76.1 78.6 2
ADF % DM 46.0 44.4 47.6 2
Lignin % DM 11.5 11.0 11.9 2
Ether extract % DM 0.5 0.3 0.7 2
Ash % DM 9.2 4.8 13.6 2
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 16.6 16.4 16.9 2
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Phosphorus g/kg DM 0.5 1
Potassium g/kg DM 3.7 1
Sodium g/kg DM 0.0 1
Magnesium g/kg DM 0.3 1
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Alanine % protein 5.8 1
Arginine % protein 5.2 1
Aspartic acid % protein 8.4 1
Cystine % protein 1.9 1
Glutamic acid % protein 15.2 1
Glycine % protein 3.9 1
Histidine % protein 1.9 1
Isoleucine % protein 3.2 1
Leucine % protein 8.4 1
Lysine % protein 4.2 1
Methionine % protein 1.6 1
Phenylalanine % protein 5.2 1
Proline % protein 8.7 1
Serine % protein 4.5 1
Threonine % protein 4.2 1
Valine % protein 5.8 1
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 6.7 1
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 1.1 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Hadorn, 1994; Wenk et al., 1990

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:46

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 94.2 1
Crude protein % DM 4.9 1
Crude fibre % DM 32.7 1
Ether extract % DM 1.2 1
Ash % DM 6.8 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.9 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.5 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 58.4 1
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 54.6 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.8 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.0 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 52.2 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Patel, 1966

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:29

Datasheet citation 

Tran G., 2015. Millet hulls. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://feedipedia.org/node/15695 Last updated on May 11, 2015, 14:35

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
Image credits