Growth performance and haematological traits of Nigerian local chickens fed varied dietary protein levels
Keywords:dietary protein, growth performance, local chicken, haematology, naked neck, normal feather
This study was carried out to investigate the growth performance and haematological traits of Nigerian local chickens (NLC) fed varied dietary protein levels. An eleven week feeding trial was done in a 3 x 2 factorial arrangement using six treatment groups comprising a combination of two genotypes of the NLC identified as normal feather (na) and naked neck (Na) and three dietary protein levels - high protein: HP (22% and 20% CP chick mash and grower mash respectively), medium protein: MP (20% and 18% chick mash and grower mash respectively) and low protein: LP (18% and 16% chick mash and grower mash). Data were collected on growth performance traits (body weight, feed intake, feed conversion ratio and protein efficiency ratio). At the end of the feeding trial a haematological assay was done. Neither genotype nor interaction of genotype and dietary protein level influenced (p>0.05) any of the growth performance traits studied. Birds on HP ate 10.21% and 7.09% less feed than those on MP and LP respectively. A better (p<0.05) protein efficiency ratio (up to 20.79%) was observed in birds fed LP. Na birds had 4.55% and 17.50x103 L-1 more packed cell volume and platelets respectively than na birds (p<0.05). All haematological traits studied, except white blood cell count, showed significant variations (p<0.05) due to varied dietary protein levels. Higher haemoglobin, red blood cell counts, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and platelets were observed in birds fed LP diet. Reducing the dietary protein level had no adverse effect on the NLC thus, the LP diet is recommended for raising the Nigerian local chicken.