Effects of varying feeding times on fertility and hatchability of broiler chicken breeders in a tropical environment
This study investigated the effects of feeding times on total egg production, fertility and hatchability of broiler chicken breeders in a tropical environment. The experiment was conducted using 240 Marshal Broiler breeder flocks for eight weeks between 40 to 48 weeks of age. The birds were randomly assigned to 3 treatment groups of feeding times (3, 5 and 7 am), with four replicates per treatments. Each feeding time consisted of 80 birds replicated in quadruplets of 20 birds each in a Completely Randomized Design. Prior to the eighth week data collection, the birds were allowed to get accustomed to the new feeding pattern for the first two weeks. The first four weeks (1 – 4 weeks) of the experiment was scheduled for the feeding time and eggs were collected and taken to the hatchery on regular basis. The second four weeks (5 – 8 weeks) was for monitoring of the eggs in the hatchery and the stages of embryonic development. Significant (p<0.05) differences were obtained only in the hen-day egg production, average number of chicks hatched and percentage hatchability. Broiler chicken breeders on 3 and 5 am feeding times recorded similar hen-day egg production. Survivability was best (p<0.05) at 3 am (85.16%) feeding time and poorest in broiler chicken breeders on 5 am feeding time. Feeding did not impact negatively on the embryonic development. It was then concluded that feeding broiler breeders at 3 am or 5 am in tropical environment enhanced better hen-day egg production, and hatchability.
Keywords: Broiler breeders, egg production, feeding time, embryonic development