Growth performance of three commercial strains of turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) commonly reared in the humid tropics
An adaptive research was conducted to evaluate the growth performance of three commonly used commercial turkey strains. A total of one hundred and eight (108) turkey poults were used for the study comprising thirty-six (36) each of the bronze, black and white strains. The birds were allotted to three treatment groups according to their strains (plumage colour) in a completely randomized design with three replicates per treatment assigned twelve (12) poults each. Experimental period lasted for 16 weeks. Parameters measured were body weight taken on weekly basis from which weight gains were deduced. Feed intake was taken on daily basis and feed conversion ratios were also calculated. Linear body measurements evaluated included – body length, breast width, shank length, thigh length and height. Results of this study revealed no significant (P > 0.05) treatment effect on any of the growth parameters assessed. Weekly body weights were similar for the three strains assessed both at starter and grower phases. Correlation coefficients for linear body measurements to body weights were determined at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Variations were observed in values obtained for relationships between LBMs across the treatment groups. For the black strain at eight weeks of age, positive (r < 0.05) values were recorded except for body weight and shank length (-0.172). At 16 weeks of age correlation values for body parts against body weight were mostly negative across the treatment groups. It was evident from the results of this study that any of the turkey strains can be reared for meat without emphasis on plumage except at the discretion of the farmer.
Keywords: Turkeys, Strains, Growth performance, Correlation, Humid tropics