The effect of diet and feeding system on the on-farm performance of local chickens during the early growth phase
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, (CAES) Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda; National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), P. O. Box 96, Tororo, Uganda; Department of Animal Production and Range Management, Gulu University, P.O. Box 166, Gulu, Uganda
This study evaluated the performance of local chickens on three diets and two feeding systems under on-farm conditions. The diets used were formulated from local feedstuffs that had been identified in a baseline survey and analyzed for chemical composition in the laboratory. Based on the laboratory results, two diets were formulated containing 20% CP and 2900Kcal ME/kg (D20) and 23% CP; 3200KcalME/kg (D23). A commercial diet (D18) containing 18% CP; 2800 Kcal ME/kg was obtained from a local feed supplier to be used as a control. The three diets were then used in conducting growth trials with chicks under two different systems of feeding. The first system involved feeding the birds intensively. The three diets were feed separately to four replicate groups of ten chicks each. This system used 120 un-sexed day old local chicks that were obtained from a local hatchery and brooded artificially. The second system involved feeding the experimental diets to semi-scavenging chicks brooded by their mother hens in confinement cages from 6.00 am to 12.00 noon, after which they were let out to scavenge. A weighed amount of feed was given to each batch and left over feed was weighed and recorded each week to compute feed consumption. In both experiments birds were weighed in batches on day one and thereafter weekly for six weeks. The data revealed no difference in the growth rate and final live body weight of chicks under the three dietary treatments. Chickens that were fed intensively exhibited better growth and survival rates than those that were fed from 6.00 am to 12.00 noon then let out to scavenge. Hence it was concluded that that a diet containing 18% CP and 2800Kcal ME/kg is sufficient for rearing local chickens during the early growth phase (0-6 weeks) on-farm. Also intensive feeding of local chickens results into better growth and survival than the semi-scavenging system. © 2015, Fundacion CIPAV. All rights reserved.