Tropical Animal Health and Production, vol. 42, issue 4 (2010) pp. 687-695
The effect of supplementation with increasing levels of dried leaves of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) on feed intake, body weight gain, and carcass yield characteristics of finisher Ross broiler chicks was studied at Haramaya University, Ethiopia. Three hundred Ross broiler chicks aging 29 days and weighing 540 +/- 5.28 g (mean +/- SD) were randomly distributed to 15 pens, each with 20 chicks, representing five treatment rations each with three replications. Dietary treatments consisted of inclusions of dried leaves of sweet potato at levels of 0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 g/kg DM for treatments T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively. The experiment lasted for 28 days, during which, dry matter intake (DMI), body weight gain, and feed conversion efficiency; carcass yield characteristics; and weights and lengths of different parts of gastrointestinal tract were measured. Data were subjected to statistical analysis using SAS (1998). Inclusion of dried leaves of sweet potato at the level of 200 g/kg DM resulted in lower (P < 0.01) daily DMI as compared to chicks in control diet (T1). The daily body weight gain declined (P < 0.01) when the level of dried leaves of sweet potato in the diet was 150 and 200 g/kg DM. Inclusion of dried leaves of sweet potato up to 100 g/kg DM did not affect (P > 0.05) eviscerated carcass weight, and weights of drumstick with thigh and breast meat were not affected (P > 0.05) by inclusion of dried leaves of sweet potato up to 150 g/kg DM. The results of this study revealed that inclusion of dried leaves of sweet potato up to 100 g/kg DM in the finisher ration might be considered as the optimum level of supplementation when chickens are sold on live weight basis, but if birds are sold on eviscerated carcass weight basis, inclusion up to 150 g/kg DM might be economically feasible as it produced higher carcass yield components.
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