The use of chicken egg shell as an alternative source of calcium in the diet of cockerel chickens.
The study was conducted to determine the effect of replacing oyster shell fraction in the diet of growing-finishing cockerel chickens partially or wholly with eggshell. A total of one hundred and twenty (120) 8 weeks old Harco cockerel chicken of mean weight 515.78 ± 3. 8g were used for the feeding trial that lasted for ten weeks. The birds were allotted to four dietary treatments in which oyster shell fraction of the diet was replaced at 0% (T1), 50% (T2), 75% (T3), and 100% (T4). Each treatment was replicated 3 times with 10 birds per replicate in a completely randomized design. The diets were formulated to contain about 16% crude protein and energy of about 2600 kcal/kgME. Variables measured were feed intake, weight gain. Feed efficiency, dressing percentage and cost /weight gain were calculated. The results showed that the mean feed intake and weight gain were not significantly (P>0.05) affected by varying levels of eggshell in the diet. The efficiency of feed utilization was relatively similar (P>0.05) in all the treatments. Dressing percentage and organs weight were relatively similar in all the treatments (P>0.05). The total feed cost and cost per weight gain reduced as the level of oyster shell in the diet increased. The highest cost per weight gain of N145.35 was recorded in T1 while the lowest cost per weight gain of N133.89 was recorded in cockerel fed diet containing 100% eggshell as replacement for oyster shell fraction of the diet. It could be concluded that eggshell could replace oyster shell up to 100% in the diet of growing finishing cockerels at reduced cost.
Keywords: Cockerel chicken, egg shell, feed utilization, oyster shell, replacement,