GROWTH PERFORMANCE, NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY AND BLOOD INDICES OF FINISHING BROILER CHICKENS FED VARYING LEVELS OF PRE-GELATINIZED CASSAVA GRITS AS A REPLACEMENT FOR MAIZE
Pre gelatinized cassava grit (PGCG) is a new cassava product produced mechanically and commercially for poultry feeding. Five dietary treatments were formulated with PGCG replacing maize at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 % in broiler starter (0-4 weeks) and finisher (4-8 weeks) diets. Two hundred (200) day-old broiler chickens were allotted to the five dietary treatments in a completely random design. Each treatment was replicated four times with 10 birds per replicate and 40 birds per treatment. At the end of week 4 and 8 of the experiment, data were collected on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, haematological and serum biochemical indices. Final weight and weight gain were significantly (P < 0.05) highest in broilers fed 25 % PGCG diet, followed by those fed control diet. While, (P < 0.05) similar and lower values were obtained from broilers fed other PGCG diets. Feed intake decreased (P < 0.05) with PGCG in the diets at the starting and finishing phases. Dry matter and crude protein digestibility was (P < 0.05) highest in starting broilers fed 25 % PGCG diet, while digestibility (P < 0.05) declined with higher levels of PGCG. At the finishing phase, digestibility of all nutrients was similar (P < 0.05). Apparent metabolizable energy was (P < 0.05) higher in birds fed PGCG diets in the starting and finishing phases. Haematological and serum biochemical indices showed no significant (P>0.05) difference in the broiler chickens fed varying levels of PGCG in the diets. Broiler chickens fed PGCG above 25% in the diet had significantly (P < 0.05) higher proventriculus values when compared with those fed the control diet and 25% PGCG diet. The study revealed that substituting maize with 25 % PGCG in broiler diets improved growth and nutrient digestibility. Reduction in weight gain and non significant increased thiocyanate at higher PGCG inclusion should be improved for effective utilization of pre gelatinized cassava grit in broiler diets.
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