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Replacement Value of Feather Meal for Fishmeal on the Performance of Starter Cockerels
Two hundred and fifty (250) Light Sussex cockerels were used in a 56 days feeding trial on a deep litter house to assess the effect of replacement of feather meal (FEM) for fishmeal (FM) on their performance. Five replacement levels 0, 2.5, 5 7.5 and 10% of FEM were used for the treatments, (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively) with 0% FEM as control or treatment 1. Treatments were replicated thrice in a completely randomized design. The cockerel chicks were fed the experimental diets for eight weeks after a one-week stabilization period. Feed and water were given ad libitum, while essential medications and vaccination were appropriately applied. The deep litter house was provided with standard brooding facilities. Measurement of initial weights and final weights of birds were taken with a sensitive weighing balance, while mean daily weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion ratio and feed cost per kg gain were calculated. Results showed that final live weights 740.11, 690.11, 648.12, 650.13 and 645.20 g for birds fed 0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5 and 10% FEM respectively varied significantly (p<0.05). Also significant differences (p<0.05) were observed in daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio and feed cost/kg weights gain. Considering the results of final live weight and daily weight gain, it appeared that the 7.5% level of FEM could be the optimal inclusion level feather meal in the diets of growing cockerels.