EVALUATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF BROILER BREEDER EGG WEIGHTS ON HATCHING AND POST-HATCH PERFORMANCES IN MARSHAL BREED
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of different Marshal breed broiler on hatching egg weights on hatching characteristics and post-hatch performances; and also to compare the cost of production of hatchlings to table size. A total of 900 hatching eggs (HE) from 40 weeks old parent stock were sorted, graded and purposively grouped on weight basis into small (<50g), medium (50-65g) and large (>65g) sizes (3 groups). Each group was allotted 300 eggs and replicated thrice, with each replicate having 100 eggs in a complete randomised design before incubation for 21 days. Candling of incubated eggs was done on day 18 on group basis and numbers of fertile eggs noted. The chicks were individually weighed and counted to determine hatchability, hatchling weight and cost of production. Thereafter, hatched chicks were allotted into the respective groups and replicated to determine the post-hatch performance. Each replicate has 45 chicks, intensively raised and were fed ad libitum with broiler starter mash for the first 4 weeks of life and broiler finisher mash from 4-8 weeks. Data generated include feed intake, final weight, mortality; weight gain, feed conversion ratio and unit cost of production of chicken were calculated. The data were analyzed by GLM of SAS and Duncan’s multiple-range test was used to separate significance of differences among treatment means at 5% significance level. The medium HE had the best fertility (93.00%), hatchability (95.67%) and cost of producing a chick (N 90.07) when compared with the small and large HEs. The large HE has the best results in terms of, final weight and weight gain, while medium HE has the best FCR, lowest mortality and least cost of production, which are significant at p< 0.05. It is therefore recommended poultry breeders and hatchery operators should consider the use of medium weight (50-65g) HEs in their operations, so as to cut down the production cost.
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