INFLUENCE OF TIMING AND DURATION OF FEED RESTRICTION ON GROWTH AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE OF FINISHER BROILER CHICKENS|
The study investigated different feed restriction programs during an 8-week broiler chicken growing cycle as a management strategy for reducing cost of production. Initially, 90 Hubbard day-old chicks fed ad libitum a commercial starter feed supplying 24% crude protein and 3000 kcal of ME/kg for 4 weeks. Thereafter, they were randomly allotted to five different feed restriction programs (R0, R5, R56, R67 and R57) utilizing finisher diets supplying 19% crude protein and 2850 kcal of ME/kg from 5-8 weeks. Each program had three replicates and six birds per replicate. Unrestricted (R0) was the control where birds fed ad libitum. In R5, birds were restricted the 5th week; R56, 5th and 6th weeks; R67, 6th and 7th weeks, and R57, 5th and 7th weeks. However, all the feed-restricted birds fed ad libitum in the 8th week. Feed restriction involved feeding one-third feed intake of R0 birds starting from 14.00 to 18.00 h daily and performance parameters recorded. Feed restriction negatively affected growth performance as the severity of restriction increased. Final body weight, carcass weight, average daily gain and average daily feed intake were similar (P>0.05) for R0 and R5 but higher than R56, R67 and R57. However, feed restriction did not significantly affect (P>0.05) carcass and breast yields or feed conversion ratio except for R67, the least (P<0.05) feed efficient. Feed cost, cost of production and revenue declined as the period of restriction increased. However, profit or profit/kg live weight, economic efficiency (EE) of feed and relative EE of feed were highest for R0 followed by R5, R56, R57 and R67 in that order. Generally, birds restricted for 1 week performed better than those restricted for 2 weeks and birds restricted continuously for 2 weeks before the last week of re-alimentation and slaughter were inferior to others. These results suggest that the duration and timing of feed restriction can reduce cost in broiler meat production without seriously affecting performance or economics of production depending on the restriction program applied.
Broilers, Economic efficiency, Feed restriction