Three experiments were carried out to determine whether dietary wood (oak) charcoal applied during entire or phase feeding period would affect growth performance, abdominal fat weight, carcass weight, carcass yield, carcass composition and nutrient excretion of broilers and to determine whether dietary wood charcoal supplementation would affect laying performance and egg quality of laying hens. In the first experiment, different inclusion levels (0, 25, 50 and 100 g/kg feed) of wood charcoal in the diet were examined for a 6-week-period using broiler chicks of initial age 1 week. Dietary wood charcoal significantly increased feed intake (P < 0.001), body weight gain (P < 0.001) and improved feed conversion ratio (P < 0.05) up to 28 days csf age. However, at 49 days of age, charcoal inclusion did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect body weight gain, feed intake, carcass weight and carcass yield, but increased (P < 0.05) feed conversion ratio, carcass ash content, fat excretion, while reducing (P < 0.05) mineral excretion in a dose dependent manner. In the second experiment, a phase application of dietary wood charcoal for a 6-week-period broiler chicks of initial age 1 week was assessed. During the first 28 days of age wood charcoal improved feed conversion ratio significantly (P < 0.05). At 49 days of age, the groups receiving charcoal in the starter and/or finisher diets showed significantly (P < 0.05) higher body weight gain and carcass weight than the control group receiving no charcoal. In the third experiment, different levels (0, 10, 20 and 40 g/kg feed) of wood charcoal supplementation to a layer diet were examined for a 7-week-period using laying hens of initial age 34 weeks. Dietary charcoal supplementation did not have a significant effect on any parameters related to performance and egg quality, but significantly reduced number of cracked eggs and the reduction was dose dependent (P < 0.01). These data demonstrate that wood charcoal inclusion to the diet could be of value in improving broiler performance during the first 28 days of fattening period. In later ages, the positive effects of wood charcoal are limited. However, in laying hens dietary supplementation of wood charcoal reduces number of cracked eggs. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.