Effect of Production Phase on Growth, Enzyme Activities and Feed Selection of Broilers Raised on Vegetable Protein Diet

  • Hossain, M.A. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England) ;
  • Islam, A.F. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England) ;
  • Iji, P.A. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England)
  • Received : 2013.11.09
  • Accepted : 2014.03.31
  • Published : 2014.11.01


This study consisted of two experiments, conducted to assess the impact of phase at which vegetable protein (VP) diets are introduced to broiler chicks, and preference of birds for diets based on soybean or canola meal (CM). Two hundred and ten day-old Cobb 500 chicks were randomly distributed into five dietary groups in the main experiment. One group was fed on animal protein (AP) diet all through to 21 days of age; two other groups were started on AP diet for 7 days and then switched to diets containing soybean meal (AP-SBM) or AP-CM, while two other diets (SBM-AP and CM-AP) were started on one of the VP diets for 7 days and then switched to AP diet. A sub-experiment on thirty birds raised on a commercial diet to 7 days was used in a feed selection test to quantify the preference of birds for the diets containing mainly CM or SBM. Chicks were reared under similar care and management conditions and the diets were iso-caloric and iso-nitrogenous. Results of the main experiment showed that chicks on CM-AP diet ate more (p<0.05) than those on the other diets up to day 7. Body weight gain was highest (p<0.001) on the AP-SBM diet while birds on the CM-AP diet weighed the least at 7 d. Feed intake, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, mortality, bone growth, visceral organ development, and activities of digestive enzymes were similar between the groups from hatch to 21 days of age. Results of the second sub-experiment showed that chicks preferred the CM-based diets to the SBM-based diets at 8 to 14 d (p<0.001) and 15 to 21 d (p<0.01) when given a choice. Overall, the birds were not affected by the nature of the starter diet although they tended to prefer the canola to soybean diets.


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