Performance and haematology of broiler starter fed acha (Digitaria exilis staph) grains as replacement for maize
An experiment was conducted to investigate the replacement value of Acha (Digitaria exilis Staph) for maize in broilers diets. Five diets were formulated in which unprocessed Acha replaced maize at 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100% levels for the starter phase. Two hundred and twenty-five unsexed Marshall Broiler chicks were weighed and randomly allotted to the five dietary treatments with three replicates per diet in a complete randomized design (CRD). The highest (P<0.05) daily feed intake (71.,90g) and (P<0.05) daily weight gain (24.60g) were obtained in the birds fed diet 5 while the best feed conversion ratio was found in diet 2 as 2.55. Hematological evaluation was done at the end of the experiment and, the dietary treatments had no significant (P>0.5) effect on RBC (x102L, WBC (x109K Hbc (g/dl) MCH (pg) and MCHC (g/dl) and had significant (P<0.05) effect on PCV%, Lymphocytes (P<0.001) and Neutrophiles (%). Unprocessed Acha (Digitaria exilis Staph) could completely (100%) replace maize as energy source in the diets of broiler chicks at starter phase.
Keywords: Performance, hematological characteristics, unprocessed Acha (Digitaria exilis Staph), broiler chicks