Evaluation of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) as feed ingredient and yolk colouring agent in layers diets.
Sixty-four Black Harco breed of laying hens, 39 weeks in lay were fed water hyacinth Eichhonia crassipes at dietary levels of 0, 5, 10 and 15% for 56 days. The experiment had eight birds in each of the 2 replicates per treatment with the E. crassipes levels of inclusion as treatments. Parameters studied included body weight change, feed intake, egg weight, egg yolk colouration, egg shell thickness and feed conversion ratio (Feed/kg egg). The mean feed intake significantly decreased (P < 0.05) among the mean values of 126.98, 127.29, 127.27, and 122.59 g/day for 0, 5, 10 and 15% inclusion levels respectively. The egg shell thickness increased significantly (P < 0.05) among the mean values obtained i.e from 0.51-0.67 mm. However, egg weight changes, egg yolk colouration and feed conversion ration did not show any significant difference (P > 0.05) among the respective means. E. crassipes appears to be optimally utilized at 5% dietary level in layers ration and could be used as pigmenter for egg yolk colouration at this level.
Key words: Water hyacinth, feed ingredient, yolk colouring agent, old layer.