Growth and carcass characteristics of broiler birds fed agro-by-products based diets
Five agro-by-products were included at different levels (0 %, 5 %, 7.5 %, 10 % and 12.5 %) in the diets of one hundred and twenty (120) broiler birds to evaluate growth performance and carcass characteristics in a study that lasted for eight (8) weeks. The agro-by-products were protein source (crayfish dust and cowpea chaff), energy source (maize and garri sievates) and a diluent (rice milling waste). Results obtained from the study were encouraging as there were no detrimental effects. Birds on the test ingredients compared favourably in growth rate and carcass yield with those on the control diet. The results showed that birds on all dietary groups recorded progressive growth that culminated in significant (P<0.01) differences in final weight, weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion ratio of birds. However, there was no significant difference (P>0.05) among the dietary groups for carcass parameters. The findings of this study revealed that the incorporation of less valued agro-by-products (up to 12.5 % level of inclusion) in broiler diets can satisfactorily support growth and carcass yield without adverse effects. We therefore recommend further trails and possible adoption as they appear to be promising feed resources that will cut down production costs.
Key words: Agricultural wastes, chickens, performance characteristics, economic traits.