Egg quality characteristics of layer hens fed varying levels of yellow cocoyam corm meal (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) as energy source
This experiment was carried out to determine the effect of sun-dried cocoyam corm meal (SDCCM) on the performance and egg quality characteristics of layer hens. Poultry industry in Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges among which is the scarcity and high cost of poultry feed fueled by high cost of energy and protein feed feedstuffs such as maize, sorghum, oat, millet etc. Cocoyam corm meal has been discovered as cheaper energy source than grains such as maize or wheat and was used to formulate layer hens’ diets as energy source at 0.0%, 10.0%, 15.0% and 20% levels of inclusion respectively. These were used to feed a batch of one hundred and twenty (120) Isa brown pullets starting at their point of lay for a fifty-six (56) days feeding trial. The birds were grouped into four treatments of 30 hens per group and replicated three times with 10 birds per group in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). Proximate composition of the experimental material was evaluated while the laying hens performance and egg quality characteristics were determined. The results obtained showed no treatment effect (P>0.05) for all the performance characteristics except for feed cost and hen – day egg production which were significantly reduced (P<0.05) in the test diets at 20% dietary levels. Similarly, all the external egg quality characteristics measured in this study were similar (P>0.05) in all the treatments means except for egg shell weight which was reduced significantly (P<0.05) in T4 (20% DCCM). However, all the treatment groups retained similar (P<0.05) egg shell thickness and were within the range of 0.30 – 0.36mm reported for egg shell thickness. However, for internal egg quality characteristics, results obtained in all the treatment means were similar (P>0.05). Albumen height and haugh unit values were, 7.19, 7.36, 7.13, and 7.23cm and 83.75, 83.79, 82.53 and 83.80 respectively. It was therefore concluded that dried cocoyam corm meal is an ideal feed ingredient in layer hen’s diets at 20% inclusion level.
Keywords: Performance, egg quality characteristics, layer hens and sun-dried cocoyam corm meal.