Effect of Replacing Maize (Zea mays ) with Barley (Hordeum vulgare ) on Broilers Performance and Carcass Characteristics
A study was conducted to investigate the effect of feeding barley as a replacement for maize on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of Cobb 500 broiler chickens. One hundred and sixty-eight day old chicks were randomly assigned to four treatment diets with three replicates, having 14 chicks in each replication, in a completely randomized design. The treatment diets were maize 100% (T1) and maize substituted with
barley at 33.3% (T2), 66.7% (T3) and 100% (T4). Similar amount of concentrate mix was added to all treatments. The experiment was conducted for a total of 56 days, with the first 1- 21 days being the starter phase and the finisher phase lasted up to 56 days following the end of the starter phase. Feeds offered and refused was recorded every day, while body weight was recorded on a weekly basis. At the end of the experiment, two chickens from each sex were slaughtered per replication to evaluate the carcass components. The current results indicated higher crude protein, ash and crude fiber contents in barley than maize, while higher energy content was obtained from maize compared to barley. Starter phase diets gave
similar feed intake values among treatments (36.8 - 38.8 g/day), showing a gradually decreasing trend with increasing levels of barley. Weight gains, growth rate and feed conversion ratio were similar up to 66.7% of maize replaced with barley. At finisher phase, daily feed intakes were 134.0-142.3 g with daily gains of 40.4-51.7g. For total period, daily feed intakes were 97.8-103.5 g with daily gains ranged from 31.2-38.8 g. Chicken under T1, T2
and T3 showed similar values of feed intake and growth performance in the finisher and total feeding periods. Carcass yield was also similar for T1, T2 and T3. In conclusion, barley could be used as an alternative source of energy in broiler nutrition by replacing 2/3rd of the maize, especially in areas where maize is not available or less productive or where its price is high.
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