Agriculture In Zambia: The effects of feeding varying levels of diatomaceous earth on the perfomance of broilers
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The broiler industry is rising in Zambia and smallholder farmers are participating in back- yard gardens. Feed is the highest cost in broiler production. The Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a naturally occurring inert material, which has proved to have various effects including improving growth rate of animals. A study to determine the effects of adding varying levels of DE to feed on performance of broilers was conducted for period of seven (7) weeks at the University of Zambia, School of Agricultural Sciences field station. In the study research, using the completely randomized design with six (6) treatments and four(4) replicates a total of 240 day -old Ross chicks non sexed were used. The birds were fed Broiler Starter Mash from National Milling Company Limited for four weeks and Broiler Finisher for three weeks. The feed was supplemented with DE levels of 0%, 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% and 5% which was mixed with feed. Data on feed consumption, body weights and feed conversion ratio was collected and statistically analyzed. The data obtained revealed that there were no significant (p<0.05) differences in feed consumption, body weight and feed conversion ratio between all the treatments. The analysis of the Cost Benefit Ratio (CBR) revealed that more profit can be realized at 0% DE when birds are sold at same price regardless of weight .However if birds are sold on weight basis, the 2% DE inclusion is more profitable. The results on the organoleptic test indicated that DE inclusion in the diet has no effect on eating quality of broiler meat. It is, therefore, concluded that DE can be economically included at 2% on broiler ration.
The University of Zambia
- Agriculture