Feed intake, growth performance, carcass characteristics and organ sizes of broilers fed baobab seed oilcake supplemented finisher diets
Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) seed oilcake has been proven a potential low-cost and locally available protein source for various livestock diets. A study was conducted to determine growth performance, carcass characteristics and organ sizes of finisher broilers fed a commercial finisher diet supplemented with baobab seed oilcake. Three-week-old ROSS 308 broiler chicks (n = 160) that were reared on a starter and grower commercial diets for the first three weeks were allotted to one of four broiler finisher dietary treatments (10 chicks/pen, four replications/treatment) using a completely randomised design. The broiler finisher diets were: control diet, which was a commercial finisher diet (T1), T2 contained 6 g/kg baobab seed oilcake plus maize mash (BSOCMM) mixed with 114 g/kg commercial finisher diet; T3 contained 18 g/kg BSOCMM mixed with 102 g/kg commercial finisher diet; while T4 contained 30 g/kg BSOCMM mixed with 90 g/kg commercial finisher diet. There were no significant (P > 0.05) differences in the growth parameters among the treatments. However, the birds on T2 had a higher feed conversion ratio and average daily gains. Final body weights at day 35 were not significantly (P > 0.05) different, but T3 and T4 birds had the highest values numerically. There were significant (P < 0.05) differences in the carcass weights and dressing percentages among the treatments. The T4 birds had the highest dressing percentage (P < 0.05) compared to T2, which had the lowest. The cut portion yield (thigh, wing, breast and feet) of the carcass were not significantly (P > 0.05) different among the treatments. However, the drumstick yield was significantly (P < 0.05) different among the treatments. Organ sizes showed no significant (P > 0.05) differences among treatments, except for the gizzard and the heart, which differed (P < 0.05) among treatments. The study concluded that the inclusion of 6–30 g/kg of BSOC blended with maize mash as partial supplementation to a commercial diet can improve final body weights without negatively affecting the feed intake, feed conversion ratio and carcass characteristics in the broiler.