Nutritional evaluation of sweet potato (ipomea batatas) chips as an energy supplement in starter diets of broiler chickens
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The major problem that farmers face in production of chickens is the cost of production of which much of it is the cost of feed. Maize v^iiich is the major source of energy in most broiler rations is expensive to produce because it requires many inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and other labor requirements. It is a crop that has many alternative uses and its competition by man and livestock has also led to the crop being expensive hence the need to identify alternative sources of energy such as tubers. Proving alternatives energy sources like sweet potato will not only } lower the cost of producing broilers but will help realise the full utility of the crop that has been I neglected.The study was conducted at the University of Zambia field station and the animal I nutrition laboratory for more 21 days. The sweet potatoes were purchased from Lusaka's Soweto ' market. These were washed in running water to remove the soils and other foreign materials after which they were chopped in to pieces of 1 cm cubes that were then sun dried until the moisture content was about 10%. The dried sweet potatoes chips were then ground through 3mm. Part of the milled meal was then used to formulate broiler starter rations and some taken for proximate analysis according to AO AC (1990). A feeding trial was conducted to evaluate performance of broiler birds fed Starter rations with sweet potato meal (SPM) levels of 0%, 5%, 15%, and 25%, compared to a commercial feed. 150 Cobb 500 birds were used in a Completely Randomized Design with each treatment replicated 5 times. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done using Minitab 16statistical package. It was observed that maize had more crude protein than sweet potatoes though sweet potatoes had more ash and calcium than maize. In terms of energy the difference was low. There were no significant differences in means of feed intake and feed conversion ratios (P>0.05) but there were significant differences in terms of weight gain among the treatment (p<0.05) however among rations that contained sweet potatoes, there was no significant differences in weight gain (P>0.05). There was observed reduction in weight gain, yet increased FCR with increasing sweet potato levels in the starter rations. Increasing sweet potato inclusion levels increased the cost of feed. It is concluded that sweet potato can be included at 5% and 15% inclusion level in rations of broiler starter ration for 21 days.
The University of Zambia
- Agriculture