Effect of nutritional enrichment with forage (Tridax procumbens) on the behavior and growth performance of conventionally reared broiler chickens

  • O S Iyasere
  • T O Sodipo
  • A V Subulokun
Keywords: behaviour, body weight gain, broiler, concentrate, forage.


This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of the provision of forage in a short-term feeding trial on the behaviour and growth performance of broilers. A total of 32, 5 weeks old Marshall broilers (average weight of 1.2kg) of mixed sex were divided into two treatments namely concentrate and concentrate-forage fed birds, each treatment had 4 replicates (4 birds/replicate). Each replicate of birds were housed in separate pens (1.2 × 2.0 cm). During the feeding trial period (a 30 minute period, 4 times/week for 2 weeks), birds in treatment A were offered 200g of concentrate while those in treatment B were offered concentrate-forage (100 g each). Data were collected on the feeding and drinking behaviour, feed intake, water intake and weight gain. The behaviour of the birds was scanned at every 5 minute interval for 30 minute and the percentage of birds feeding or drinking was recorded. Weight gain was determined at the end of the 2 weeks experimental period. Data were analysed using SPSS statistical package (version 16). Result showed that the percentage of birds feeding was greater (P<0.001) in concentrate-forage fed than concentrate fed birds. Concentrate fed birds displayed higher (P<0.001) drinking behaviour than concentrate-forage fed birds. In addition, a greater percentage of concentrate fed birds were drinking and drank more (P<0.001) water compared to concentrate-forage birds. Concentrate-forage birds showed preference for concentrate than forage (P<0.05). In conclusion, feeding broilers concentrate and forage (Tridax procumbens) simultaneously improved the feeding behaviour of broilers by 17%, reduced concentrate intake by 34% without negatively affecting their weight gain. Hence, farmers could consider this as a strategy for conserving expensive feed resources.

Keywords: behaviour, body weight gain, broiler, concentrate, forage.


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eISSN: 0331-2062