Performance and economy of production of laying hens fed graded levels of fermented wild cocoyam corm-based diets.
Experiments were carried out to evaluate the performance of laying hens fed fermented wild cocoyam corm (FWCC) as a partial replacement for maize. Two hundred and forty (240) Nera black laying birds were randomly allocated to four experimental diets formulated on 0, 10, 20 and 30% FWCC as graded replacement (w/w) for maize. The first diet (10% FWCC), a standard layer ration served as the control. There were sixty birds per diet (a treatment) which was replicated thrice. The experiment was completely randomized and lasted 84 days. Data were collected on Body Weight Gain (BWG), Feed Intake (FI), Egg Weight (EW), Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR), Hen Day Production (HDP), coefficient of digestibility of nutrients and cost of feed consumed to produce a standard measure of egg. The metabolisable energy and nutrient contents of the basal (control) and FWCC – based diets met the recommended requirements of these birds. Layers fed 10-30% FWCC – based diets compared favourably with those on the maize–based control diet. The BWG (0.15 – 0.18kg), FI (101.52 – 107.71g/bird/day), EW (57.35 – 58.39g), FCR (1.52 – 1.58kg feed/dozen egg and 2.15 – 2.46kg feed/kg egg) and HDP (75.24 – 84.76%) were not significantly (p<0.05) affected by the dietary treatments. The digestibility of Crude Protein (CP) and Ash were similar (p>0.05) for all dietary treatments while those of Crude Fibre (CF) and Ether Extract (EE) at 0 and 10% FWCC were higher (p<0.05) than 20 and 30% FWCC levels. Cost of feed intake decreased with increasing level of FWCC in the diets. Also, cost of feed per dozen egg (N54.98-58.55) decreased up to 20% FWCC replacement level while those on 30% FWCC – based diet had the highest value (N58.55). FWCC is a promising. cheaper and readily available alternative energy feed ingredient. It can be incorporated into layers’ rations up to 20% level.
Keywords: Performance characteristics, laying hens, economy, fermented wild cocoyam corms.