Evaluation of techniques for improving broiler performance during the first week of life.
Mabusela, Thanduxolo Penrose.
MetadataShow full item record
The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the interventions that may be used to improve broiler performance during the first week of the life of a broiler chicken. Four experiments were conducted on caged broiler chickens. The interventions applied included the use of feeds varying in dietary protein contents, the use of pelleted vs. mash feed and the use of various feed additives, including additional vitamins and trace minerals, brewers yeast, Spirulina, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and an enzyme cocktail supplied by Optivite. In addition, access to feed was identified as a potential problem in the cages used in these trials, so feed trough position was tested, these being positioned either inside or outside the cages. The performance variables measured included growth rate, food intake and food conversion efficiency (FCE), the main objective being to maximise body weight at 7d. In all four experiments, broiler chickens showed a significant improvement in all variables when dietary protein content was increased, when pelleted feed was used, and when the feed was positioned inside the cage. No improvements occurred as a result of the addition of any of the feed additives except the enzyme cocktail from Optivite, which improved performance significantly. The best mean performance recorded over all the trials was on the highest protein feed (221g/kg) containing Optivite, when the feed was pelleted through a 1.8 mm die and fed inside the cage, the body weight of the chicks at 7d being 157 g, having consumed 164 g feed/chick at an FCE of 957 g/kg.