Differences in chickens" feed intake may be the underlying factor influencing feed-efficiency (FE)-associated variation in intestinal microbiota and physiology. In chickens eating the same amount of feed, quantitative feed restriction may create similar intestinal conditions and help clarify this cause-and-effect relationship. This study investigated the effect of ad libitum versus restrictive feeding (85% of ad libitum ) on ileal and cecal microbiota, concentrations of short-chain fatty acids, visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, permeability, and expression of genes related to nutrient uptake, barrier function, and innate immune response in broiler chickens with divergent residual feed intake (RFI; metric for FE). On day 30 posthatch, 28 low-RFI (good FE) and 29 high-RFI (poor FE) chickens across both feeding-level groups ( n = 112) were selected. Supervised multigroup data integration and relevance network analyses showed that especially Lactobacillus (negative) in ileal digesta, Turicibacter (positive) in cecal digesta, and Enterobacteriaceae (positive) in both intestinal segments depended on chicken"s feed intake, whereas the level of Anaerotruncus in cecal digesta was most discriminative for high RFI. Moreover, shallower crypts and fewer goblet cells in ceca indicated host-related energy-saving mechanisms with low RFI, whereas greater tissue resistance suggested a stronger jejunal barrier function in low-RFI chickens. Values corresponding to feed intake level × RFI interactions indicated larger pancreas and lower levels of ileal and cecal short-chain fatty acids in restrictively fed high-RFI chickens than in the other 3 groups, suggesting host physiological adaptations to support greater energy and nutrient needs of high-RFI chickens compensating for the restricted feeding.