Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, P.M.B. 135, Shabu, Lafia Campus, Nasarawa State, Nigeria
Receive Date: 23 September 2011,
Revise Date: 23 November 2011,
Accept Date: 04 December 2011
One hundred and eighty 28-days-old Arbor Acres broiler birds were utilized in a 28 day experiment to investigate the effect of replacing bone ash with eggshell meal in the diet of broiler birds on their nutrient digestibility and blood parameters. Five experimental diets tagged T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 were formulated to be isocaloric (2865.53 kcal ME/kg) and isonitrogenous (20% crude protein) such that eggshell meal replaced bone ash at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% for treatments T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively. The birds were randomly assigned to the five dietary treatments and replicated twice giving a total of eighteen birds per replicate in a completely randomized design. The study showed that the haematological parameters were not affected (P>0.05) by the treatments except for Corpuscular Haemoglobin which were best (P<0.05) at T5 (47.95 pg) and T3 (45.60 pg) and followed by those fed T1 (42.85 pg), T2 (42.20 pg) and T4 (43.40 pg). Similarly, values obtained for Mean Corpuscular Volume were improved (P<0.05) in birds fed T5 (148.45 fl) followed by those fed T3 (142.95 fl) and T4 (140.45 fl). Serum urea, glucose, triglyceride and total protein were not (P>0.05) influenced by the treatments. Ten 28-days old birds with similar live body weight were paired and randomly assigned to five dietary treatments tagged T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 which were compounded to contain the same composition as those used in the blood studies. The birds were housed in cages and fed such that each group passed through the five treatments by rotation in a Latin Square Design arrangement. Feed and faecal samples were taken for proximate analysis. The results of the proximate analysis of the oven-dried faeces were used to compute the coefficient of digestibility of the nutrients. The results obtained showed that digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract, ash and nitrogen-free extract were not affected (P>0.05) by the treatments. It is therefore, recommended that since there was no deleterious and adverse effect of including eggshell meal in the diets on the blood parameters and digestibility of the nutrients, farmers can use eggshell meal as a major source of dietary calcium in broiler’ diets.
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