Response of broiler birds fed diets containing varying levels of dried watermelon rind at finisher phase
A feeding trial was conducted to investigate growth performance and nutrient digestibility of experimental diets formulated with dried watermelon rind to replace wheat offal, fed to broiler chickens at finisher phase. One hundred and fifty day-old “ROSS 360” broiler chicks were randomly allotted to five dietary treatments of thirty (30) birds per treatment. Each treatment was replicated three times with ten birds per replicate in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) arrangement. Five experimental diets containing dried watermelon rind at varying levels of replacement were formulated and designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 with replacement levels of 0 %, 25 %, 50 %, 75 % and 100 % respectively. Initial body weight, final body weight, body weight gain, feed itake, feed conversion ration and apeparent digestibility of crude proten, fibre, ash and nitrogen free extract were measured. There were no significant (P>0.05) differences among the treatment groups for all the growth parameters except for feed conversion ratio. Final weight ranged from 1223.33 to 1305.19 g; while daily feed intake, daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio ranged from 89.46 to 97.95 g, 35.26 to 38.25 g and 2.35 to 2.78, respectively.. The nutrient digestibility indicates significant (p<0.05) difference in crude fibre, ash, ether extract and NFE, while that of crude protein, dry matter and total digestible nutrient were not significantly (P>0.05) different. Crude protein, dry matter and TDN ranges between 67.47 % to 69.15 %, 79.10 % to 80.72 and 74.35 to 78.68 respectively. The study concluded that 25 % replacement of wheat offal with dried watermelon rind can be effective for optimal growth performance and complete replacement for fibre and energy requirement in producing broiler chickens without compromising performance or any deleterious effect.
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