The performance of broiler finisher birds fed varying levels of feather meal as replacement for soya bean meal
This study focused on the performance of broiler finisher birds fed varying levels of feather meal as replacement for soya bean meal. The cost of livestock feeds had been on an upward trend more especially in developing countries due to competition between man and livestock for feed ingredients such as grains root crops, animal protein and fish products hence the search for alternative feed ingredients for non – ruminants like poultry has become rather imperative to save man and his livestock from starvation. This study is a contribution to that search. Sixty – four weeks old – unsexed Anak breed of broiler birds were used in a completely randomized designed experiment to determine the performance of the birds fed varying levels of feather meal, as a replacement for soya bean meal. The birds were randomly allotted to four treatment diets containing 0%, 2.5%, 5% and 7.5% feather meal represented by T1, T2, T3 and T4 respectively with 15 birds in each treatment which were in turn replicated three times with 5 birds in each replicate. The experiment lasted for 28 days. Parameters measured included initial body weight, final body weight, weight change, average daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio, feed cost/ kg, and weight gain. Results showed that feed intake, progressively increased and differed significantly (P< 0.05) between treatment means as inclusion levels of feather meal increased while feed cost/ kg decreased as inclusion level of feather meal increased, feed cost/ kg weight gain increased and both differed significantly (P<0.05) between treatment means, while the birds tolerated feather meal up to 7.5% inclusion level, 2.5% was the optimal. It is therefore recommended that 2.5% of feather meal be included in finisher broiler diets to reduce the cost of feed and also reduce the cost of broiler production.
Keywords: Anak finisher broiler birds, feather meal and soya bean meal