Performance of finisher broiler chickens as affected by different proportions of cooked cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) in the grower-finisher diet.
This study was carried out for 4 weeks at the Research Experimental Farm (FAR) of the University of Dschang-Cameroon, on the feeding of broilers with cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) as a source of protein, which replaced animal meal (CMAV 10%) in the finisher diet. The objective was to evaluate the effect of the incorporation level of cooked cowpea on the production performances of broilers in the grower-finisher diet, so cooking could be an easy solution to local farmers if proven efficient. A total of 160 male broiler chicks, 21days old and weighing 416.32g on average, were randomly distributed into 32 experimental units of 4 birds each. Each of the five experimental diets: F0, F1, F2, F3 and F4 containing 0% (control), 15%, 20%, 25%, and 30% of cooked cowpea was respectively allocated to 8 experimental units in a completely randomised design comprising 5 treatments with 4 replicates each. Cowpea grains bought from the local market were cooked for 3 minutes in a pressure cooker at the temperature of about 115oC under a pressure of 155Pa. Cooked grains were sun-dried for one week (under a temperature of about 28-32oC) to a humidity level of about 11%. Parameters measured were feed consumption, live weight and weight gain, feed conversion ratio, feeding cost for the production of one kg live weight, carcass yields, proportions of different parts analysed and the creatinine level in the chickens’ serum. The results showed that there was no significant difference (P>0.05) between treatment groups for total feed consumption. Live weight (1941.93±77.74g and 1804.21±271.73g), weight gain (1207.61±71.50g and 1094.93±177.16g), and feed conversion ratio (2.79 ±0.15 and 3.02 ±0.46) recorded for the F3 group (25% cooked cowpea) and F4 (30% cooked cowpea) respectively were statistically significant (P<0.01) as compared with the other groups. The F3 and F4 rations induced the highest feeding cost for the production of one kg live weight (P>0.01) during the whole experimental period. F0, F1 and F2 broilers were comparable for these parameters. All the treatment groups were not statistically different (P>0.05) for carcass yield, proportions of organs and serum creatinine level. It was concluded that up to 20% of cooked cowpea could be used in the finisher diet without negatively affecting feed consumption, live weight, weight gain, feed conversion ratio, feeding cost for the production of one Kg live weight and carcass quality of broilers.
Key words: Cowpea, Diets, Production Performances, Broilers