Use of qualitative feed restriction as a management strategy for finishing broilers
A 5-week experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of qualitative feed restriction through the use low-quality diet on finisher broiler performance, and to determine if sufficient compensatory growth can be achieved at that phase of broiler production. Seventytwo (72) 4 weeks old broiler chicks of Anak strain weighing of the average 1.0kg were randomly distributed into two groups, A and B, using completely randomized design. Each group was replicated 3 times with 12 broiler chicks per replicate and each replicate housed in a pen measuring 1.5 m x 2 m. Broilers in group A were given a standard broiler finisher diet continuously for 5 weeks while broilers in group B received a low-quality cheap diet based mainly on palm kernel cake and wheat offal for the first two weeks and then placed on the standard diet for the remaining three weeks of the trial. The birds were weighed at the beginning of the trial and weekly thereafter. At the end of the feeding trial, 4 birds were randomly selected from each group, weighed, sacrificed, de-feathered, eviscerated and their internal organs as well as the abdominal fat, weighed. There was no significant difference in feed intake between the groups (P>0.05) at the end of the trial but the group on the high fibre low-quality diet consumed significantly (P<0.05) more feed during the 2 weeks. Daily body weight gain of the birds on the low-quality diet was lower than that of their counterparts in the control diets in the first 2 weeks but remarkably and progressively increased up to the end of the feeding trial. There was, however, no significant difference between the groups (P>0.05) in the final body weights. There were no significant differences in internal organ weights of the groups (P>0.05). However, abdominal fat weight was significantly (P<0.05) reduced by qualitative feed restriction. Feed cost of production (N/kg weight gain) were N348.69 and N343.78 for the control and qualitative feed restricted groups, respectively. The results have shown that sufficient compensatory growth can be achieved in broiler production even when the period of production is just 5 weeks.
Keyword: Finisher broilers, qualitative feed restriction, low-quality diet, compensatory growth