Performance of laying hens fed graded levels of dried yellow cocoyam corm meal (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) as partial replacement for maize
Yellow cocoyam (Xanthosoma sagittifolium), a tropical root crop is presently underutilized as energy feedstuff in poultry diets. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of dried cocoyam corm meal as partial replacement for maize on egg laying and haematological parameters of layer hens. Fifty-six (56) days feeding trial was conducted using one hundred and twenty (120) Isa brown layer hens of twenty weeks (20 weeks) old. Sample of the cocoyam corm meal used for this study was analyzed in the laboratory to determine its proximate nutrient composition. Results showed moisture content 79%, ash 4%, fat 1.1%, fibre 5.5%, carbohydrate 24%, protein 8.05% and energy 3160.05kcal/kg DM. The cocoyam corm meal was used to formulate layer hens’ diets: T1, T2, T3, and T4 at 0%, 10%, 15% and 20% inclusion levels respectively. The experimental layer hens were divided into four treatment groups of thirty (30) hens each which was further replicated three times, ten (10) birds per replicate in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). Each group of the experimental birds was subjected to one of the experimental diets for the period of 56 days and drinking water was also provided regularly. At the expiration of the experiment, three (3) birds were selected from each group for haematological parameters evaluation. Average daily feed and total feed intake showed no significant (P>0.05) difference though T4 was higher (P<0.05) among the treatments and T1 was the least (P<0.05). Total body weight gained was significantly (P<0.05) higher at T4. T2 was significantly (P<0.05) the lowest among other treatments. T1 had a significant (P<0.05) highest hen day egg production followed by T2 and T3 which were statistically the same (P>0.05) while T4 had the lowest (P<0.05) among the treatments. T2 had the heaviest (P<0.05) egg weight of 65.40g while T1 had the lowest (P<0.05) (61.76g) though still within the same category of large in USDA (2000) egg weight rating. Feed efficiency of feed/g egg weight was higher at T2 (1.27). T4 (1.38) had the lowest (P<0.05) feed conversion efficiency with no significance (P>0.05) difference among values obtained from other treatments. T1 had the highest pack cell volume (P<0.05). Red blood cell, count, haemoglobin and white blood cell count values which did not differ significantly (P>0.05) among the values of T2, followed by T3. Results obtained in the haematological parameters evaluated showed significant difference (P<0.05) recorded in some values; T3 had the highest haemoglobin (20.46 pg) followed by T4 (20.34 pg), T1 had the least (19.80 pg) but still within the recommended range for layer hens for optimal performance. It is concluded that dried cocoyam corm meal (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) is an ideal ingredient in layer hens diets up to 15% inclusion level for good performance.
Key words: Egg production, growth, haematology, proximate composition.