Response of broilers to 3 weeks feed restriction initiated at different time periods
Keywords:Feed restriction, 50% of ad libitum feeding, cost to benefit ratio, feed intake, nutrient retention, weight gain
One hundred and forty four Anak broilers were subjected to either ad libitum feeding or 50% ad libitum feeding for a period of 3 weeks starting from 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th week of age and then returned to ad libitum feeding to market age. Feed intake was significantly reduced (P<0.05). Initiation of broilers to 50% of ad libitum feeding at the 2nd week of age produced a significantly higher weight gain and better feed to gain ratio compared with the control (P<0.05). Initiation of broilers to 50% ad libitum feeding beyond the 3rd week resulted in poorer performance of broilers compared with the control (P<0.05). Feed restriction as applied in this study did not have any significant effects on broilers initiated at the 2nd or 3rd week and the control. However, retention of these nutrients were significantly reduced (P<0.05) in birds initiated into feed restriction beyond the 3rd week. The economic data showed that 50% of ad libitum feeding initiated at the 2nd Week of age resulted in significant reduction in the cost of production and cost to benefit ratio (P<0.05). The benefit in terms of Naira and kobo was also significantly increased (P<0.05). It was then concluded that, initiating broilers to 50% of ad libitum feeding for 3 weeks starting at the 2nd week of age offered a better economic gain than the usual ad libitum feeding.