Starter broiler feed brand preferences by small scale poultry farmers versus performance of broiler chickens fed the preferred feed brands in Owerri zone, Imo State, Nigeria
The production and sale of 28 day-old broiler chicks, a business known locally as “brood and sell” is rapidly growing among small scale poultry farmers in Owerri zone, Imo state, South East Nigeria. Feed however, is a major budget item that affects profit in the business. This study therefore, evaluated the preferences of farmers for the different starter broiler feed brands versus the performance of such broilers on these feed brands. A purposively structured questionnaire was designed and administered to forty eight small scale poultry farmers in seven local government areas in the zone. Based on the responses from the farmers, a 28-day feeding trial was carried out at our station using 210, one-day old Marshal broiler chicks to determine their performance on feed brands preferred by the farmers. Results of the survey indicated that five feed brands coded TF, VF, AF, HF and ZF were actively distributed in the zone. VF brand was the most preferred (49.10%) and TF second most preferred (29.07%) while HF brand was the least preferred (3.66%). Results of the feeding trial indicated that TF recorded the best body weight gain (495.22g), feed conversion ratio (FCR), 2.53 and 0.00% mortality while HF recorded the least body weight gain (214.29g), poorest FCR (5.57) and highest mortality rate (14.28%). The VF brand mostly preferred by the farmers from our survey recorded 469.04g body weight gain, 2.87 FCR and 0.00% mortality. TF which outperformed other brands however, cost much more per kg. Preference of feed brand by small scale poultry farmers in Owerri zone, from the results obtained is influenced by cost but the quality of such feed brand was also a major consideration.
Keywords: Small scale, poultry farmers, feed brand, starter broilers, Owerri