In vivo experiments were conducted to verify whether arabinoxylooligosaccharides (AXOS) obtained as low molecular mass compounds by enzymic hydrolysis from wheat bran arabinoxylan (AX) can exert nutritional effects. Two feeding trials were performed on chickens fed diets with either wheat or maize as the main component. Supplementation of bran AXOS at either 0.5% (w/w) to the wheat-based diet or at 0.25% (w/w) to the maize-based diet diets significantly (P < 0.05) improved the feed conversion rate without increasing the body weight of the animals, thus pointing to improved nutrient utilization efficiency. The positive effect of bran AXOS supplementation on feed utilization efficiency was similar to that obtained by adding an AX-degrading xylanase directly to the wheat-based diet. No significant effect on feed utilization efficiency was obtained with mother type of nondigestible oligosaccharide such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from chicory roots. Bran AXOS significantly increased the level of bifidobacteria but not total bacteria in the caeca of the chickens, all effect not observed with either xylanase or FOS addition. These data suggest that bran AXOS have beneficial nutritional effects and may act as prebiotics.