Livestock Research for Rural Development 29 (3) 2017 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of varying levels of dietary energy and protein on reproductive performance of FUNAAB - alpha hens

B Saleh, S T Mbap1, D J U Kalla1, U D Doma1 and H Duwa

Department of Animal Science, University of Maiduguri, P M B 1069, Borno State, Nigeria
bbsaleh75@gmail.com
1 Department of Animal Production, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria

Abstract

The effects of varying levels of dietary energy and protein on reproductive performance and chick quality of FUNNAB – Alpha chickens were studied. Sixty hens and twelve cocks were randomly divided into four dietary treatments; Standard diet (SD) (Control) (2650Kcal/Kg ME/ 16%CP), High Energy – Low Protein (HELP, 2800 Kcal/Kg ME/ 14%CP), High Energy – High Protein (HEHP, 2800 Kcal/Kg ME/ 18% CP) and Low Energy – Low Protein (LEHP, 2400 Kcal/Kg ME/ 18%CP) groups.

Feed intake was significantly lower (P<0.05) in the HEHP group. Daily intake of energy and protein was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the control and LEHP diets. Hen day egg production and egg mass were not affected (P >0.05) by dietary treatment. Fertility was significantly (P <0.05) lowered by HELP and hatchability improved (P <0.05) in the HEHP group. Higher mid embryonic mortality was recorded in the HEHP group (P <0.05). Chicks were longer (P <0.05) in the Control an HEHP groups at hatched. Pasgar score was similar (P >0.05) for all groups. It was concluded that 2800Kcal/Kg and 18% CP is adequate for optimum reproductive function and good chick quality of the FUNAAB – Alpha breeder. More research into post hatch performance of the chicks is warranted.

Key words: chick quality, embryonic mortality, fertility, hatchability


Introduction

In Nigeria, local chicken production plays an important role in rural communities providing scarce animal protein (meat and eggs) and a reliable source of petty cash (Nwagu 2002; Kperegbeyi et al 2009). Through crossbreeding and intensive selection over many generations, the FUNAAB – Alpha has been developed at the Federal University of Agriculture of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria for improved meat and egg production without compromising the adaptation to tropical climate and diseases. Pullets of the FUNAAB Alpha lay the first egg between 18 to 21 weeks when they weigh 1.2 - 1.8kg.

It is well known that nutrition of the breeding female in particular influences many egg characteristics and is therefore extremely important for the development of the embryo and the successful hatching of high quality chicks (Brand et al 2003; Vieira 2007; Kenny and Kemp 2007). According to Ravindran (2011), energy and protein are essential for egg production, hatchability and chick productivity. Zeweil et al (2011) and van Emous et al (2015) all reported that a high protein content of the diet during lay can result in a decrease in fertility and hatchability of fertile eggs in breeders. However, the effect of nutrition on reproductive performance of the FUNAAB Alpha is not documented.

This study was designed to evaluate the effects of different dietary energy and protein levels on reproductive performance of the Normal feathered FUNAAB Alpha Nigerian local chicken.


Materials and methods

Experimental site, birds and management

The experiment was conducted at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Nigeria. A total of 60 hens and 12 cocks (35 weeks of age) were randomly divided in to four dietary treatment groups with three replicates each in three blocks as follows; Standard diet for exotic layer (SD)(ME- 2600Kcal/kg and CP- 16%)(Control), high energy-low protein (HELP) (ME- higher than SD by 7.7% and CP lower by 12.5%), high energy-high protein (HEHP) (ME- higher than SD by 7.7% and CP- higher by 12.5%) and low energy- high protein (LEHP) (ME- lower than SD by 7.7% and CP- higher by 12.5%) (Table 1). The standard diets were based on the recommendations of Olomu (2011) for hen in the tropics.

The birds were reared on deep litter in conventional open sided house under natural day light. A ratio of 1:5 (cock: hen) for natural mating was used. Experimental breeder diets (Table 1) and water was offered ad libitum throughout the 34-week experimental period.

Each bird was weighed at the beginning of the experiment and fortnightly thereafter and weight change was the difference between two consecutive weighing. Feed intake, hen day egg production (HDEP) and egg mass were obtained daily while feed conversion ratio (feed/dozen eggs) was recorded weekly.

Table 1. Experimental breeder diets (%).

Ingredients

Control

HELP

HEHP

LEHP

Maize

56.8

68.3

58.3

45.3

Wheat bran

12.0

4.82

1.59

19.2

Soya bean meal

20.6

16.3

28.6

24.9

Vegetable oil

-

1.00

-

Bone ash

2.75

2.75

2.75

2.75

Limestone

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

Salt

0.35

0.35

0.35

0.35

Premix*

0.25

0.25

0.25

0.25

Methionine

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

Lysine

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

Total

100

100

100

100

Calculated Analysis

ME (Kcal/Kg)

2600

2800

2800

2400

Crude Protein (%)

16.0

14.0

18.0

18.0

Calcium (%)

3.47

3.46

3.47

3.49

Phosphorus (%)

0.78

0.72

0.73

0.78

Lysine

0.90

0.77

1.04

1.04

Methionine

0.40

0.35

0.40

0.38

ME – Metabolizable Energy
* Each 2.5kg HI-Mix® vitamin/mineral premix contain; Vitamin A – 10000000 I.U, Vitamin D3 – 2000000 I.U, Vitamin E – 12000mg, Vitamin K3 – 2000mg, Vitamin B1 – 1500mg, Vitamin B2 – 4000mg, Vitamin B6 – 1500mg, Niacin – 15000mg, Vitamin B12 – 10mcg, Pantothenic Acid – 5000mg, Folic Acid – 500mg, Biotin – 20mcg, Choline Chloride – 100000mg, Manganese – 75000mg, Zinc – 50000mg, Iron – 20000mg, Copper – 5000mg, Iodine – 1000mg, Selenium – 200mg, Cobalt – 5000mg, Antioxidant – 125000mg

Data collection and analysis

A total of 1189 eggs were used to test the reproductive performance of the experimental flock in eight batches (i.e. eight cycles of 28 days). Once in each cycle eggs were collected for seven consecutive days from each replicate and labeled appropriately. They were sorted on the 7th day to remove cracked and abnormal size eggs before setting in a 220-egg capacity incubator manufactured by ‘‘Arrahamania’’ Company, Zaria, Nigeria. Temperature and relative humidity were maintained at 37.6oC and 55 – 60% during the first 1 days and 37.3oC and 55 – 70% during the last 3 days respectively. 19 to 21 it was respectively. Eggs were turned every 90 minutes. Candling was done on the 10th and 18 th day of incubation and all clear eggs and dead embryos removed. Percent fertility and hatchability were calculated as:



All unhatched eggs were inspected for evidence of embryo development and embryo mortality were described as Early (EEM) if observed at day 10, as Mid (MEM) if observed at day 18 and as Late (LEM) if unhatched after day 21. The embryo deaths for each stage (EEM, MEM and LEM) were calculated as a percent of total embryo death in each batch.

Chick quality was measured based on chick weight, chick length and Pasgar score at hatch. Weight was measured using an electronic balance to the nearest 0.01g while chick length was measured from the point of the beak to the middle toe (nail excluded) to the nearest centimeter. Pasgar score was obtained by scoring chick vitality (place the chick on its back, if it sits up immediately - Score 0; if it takes more than 3 seconds to sit up - score 1), quality of navel (when it is completely closed and all the yolk is absorbed - score 0 but if it is open and/or one can see a dried cord - score 1), hock joint (is not enflamed and have a normal colour - score 0, if enflamed and/or red - score 1), beak (if clean and the nostrils are closed - score 0, if dirty and/or has a red dot - score 1) and abdomen (if soft abdomen - score 0, if hard abdomen and/or skin stretched score 1). For each individual, the different scores were added up and then deducted from the maximum score of 10 and the average for each group calculated.

All data collected were analyzed for variance as a Randomized Complete Block Design using the linear function of Statistix 9.0 (2008). Treatment means were compared using least square difference (LSD).


Results and discussion

The effect of dietary energy and protein on productive performance of FUNNAB – alpha hens are shown on Table 2. Hens in the LEHP group consumed more feed and protein (P<0.05). The lowest feed and protein intakes were recorded in birds fed HEHP. Hens in the Control and LEHP groups consumed more (P<0.05) energy than those fed HELP and HEHP. According to Lesson et al (1993) and Olomu (2011) birds consume feed primarily to meet their energy requirement. The high feed consumption in the LEHP fed hens also led to an increase in daily ME and protein consumption which agrees with the observation of Uddin et al (1992) that protein intake increases with increased energy level when star cross layers were fed varying energy and protein levels in the diet.

There was no dietary effect on body weight gain of the hens. The similarities observed in body weight gain among the different treatment groups may be an indication that all the diets meet the minimum requirement for maintenance and the fact that birds attained maturity could also be a possible explanation of the similarity in body weight. Abdel-Azeem (2011) also observed no effect of dietary energy and protein on body weight of matured quail hens.

Table 2. Effect of Dietary Energy and Protein concentrations on Productive Performance of FUNAAB - alpha Chicken

Parameter

Control

HELP

HEHP

LEHP

SEM

p

Body weight gain (g)

283

207

292

248

87.9

0.79

Daily feed intake (g)

145b

140b

118c

166a

4.87

0.00

Daily protein intake(g)

23.16b

19.56c

18.81c

26.57a

0.74

0.00

Daily ME intake (Kcal/Kg)

376a

335b

329b

399a

12.2

0.00

HDEP (%)

43.1

43.1

44.3

41.6

2.69

0.79

Egg weight (g)

52.7a

51.8a

50.1b

51.7a

0.67

0.00

Egg mass (%)

23.1

22.2

22.1

22.6

1.58

0.92

FCR (per dozen eggs)

6.04b

7.34ab

4.62c

9.20a

0.85

0.00

Mortality (%)

22.2

33.3

22.2

33.3

11.9

0.48

HELP- High Energy Low Protein, HEHP- High Energy High Protein, LEPH- Low Energy High Protein; HDEP – Hen day egg production; FCR – Feed conversion ratio
abc
Means within the same row without common letter are different at P<0.05
SEM- Standard error of means

Egg production and egg mass were not affected by dietary treatment. This concurs with the report of Zeweil et al (2011) who noted that egg production and egg mass were not affected by dietary crude protein levels (12, 14 and 16%) of Baheij laying hens. Similarly, Adeyemo and Longe (1996) did not observe any significant difference in egg production of hens fed four levels of dietary energy. On the contrary however, Rama Rao et al (2011) found that egg production and egg mass were increased in white leghorns as dietary energy and protein increased. Egg production values were similar to 38 - 40.11% (Momoh et al 2008) and 22.1 - 43.6% (Kingori et al 2010) for indigenous chickens in Nigeria and Kenya respectively.

Egg weight was reduced but FCR improved (P<0.05) in hens fed HEHP. It is well reported that energy and protein influence egg weight in chickens (Saki et al 2015; Alagawany et al 2016). The lower feed intake on the HEHP group was probably the main reason for egg weight on this diet. The lower feed intake on HEHP was the reason for improved FCR despite the poorer egg weight observed on this diet. Nager et al (1997) noted that protein content of diet rather than energy may be a limiting factor for egg formation in birds, since protein is an important component of eggs (Gunawardana et al 2008). Egg weight in this experiment was similar to the 53.15±0.35grams reported by Adebambo (2015) for the FUNAAB Alpha chicken. This is in agreement with the report of Almeida et al (2012) that relative to feed conversion ratio, the highest crude protein and energy levels generated the best results for layers reared in hot climates. Improved FCR in laying hens fed high protein diets has also been reported by other authors (Abd El-Maksoud et al 2011; Bouyeh and Gevorgian 2011).

Mortality was not affected by dietary treatment in this experiment which agrees with the observations of Sun and Coon (2005) who fed breeders a high-energy or low-energy diet (2,970 vs. 2,816 kcal/kg ME) during the entire laying period and noticed no difference in mortality.

Among the environmental factors nutrition has a major effect on reproductive parameters (Wilson, 1997). A poorer Fertility was observed on the HELP group and the best hatchability on the HEHP hens. Early and late embryonic mortality were not affected by diet but mid mortality was on the HELP compared to HEHP diets. Pearson and Herron (1982) studied broiler breeders from 21 to 64 weeks of age and concluded that the low hatchability observed between 26 to 36 weeks of age in birds fed high protein (27 g/bird/d) and low energy (363 kcal ME/bird/d) was due to increases in the percentage of dead embryos in the second week of incubation and an increase in the number of unhatched pips. In a similar observation, van Emous et al (2015) noted that a high energy diet resulted in no effect on fertility, but improved hatchability of fertile eggs resulting from a decrease in embryonic mortality between days 3 to 21 of incubation. Also an increase in fertility and hatchability and lowered embryonic mortality were reported by Lopez and Leeson (1995) in birds with lower protein intake. This may explain the higher egg hatchability in the HEHP fed hens. Dietary energy and protein had no effect on chick weight. This observation corroborates the report of Moraes (2013) who observed that maternal dietary energy and protein did not influence chick weight at hatch. Similarly, Kingori et al (2010) did not observe any effect of varied maternal dietary protein on chick weight of indigenous Kenyan chicken.

Chick length was influenced by maternal dietary treatment. Chicks from the high energy low protein (HELP) and low energy high protein (LEHP) groups were shorter. The lower protein in the former and low energy for protein utilization could have accounted for this observation.

Pasgar score was not affected by maternal dietary treatment suggesting that maternal energy or protein status does not affect Pasgar value. In a similar observation, Moraes (2013) did not observe any effect of maternal dietary energy or protein concentration on chick quality score.

Table 3. Effect of Dietary Energy and Protein concentrations on Reproductive performance and Chick quality of FUNAAB - alpha Chicken

Parameter

Control

HELP

HEHP

LEHP

SEM

p

Fertility (%)

71.2a

62.8b

76.6a

74.5a

2.74

0.01

Hatchability (%)

38.7b

34.3b

53.3a

32.5b

6.43

0.01

EEM (%)

18.1

14.1

20.2

21.5

7.21

0.79

MEM (%)

30.5ab

22.5b

30.8a

29.1ab

7.61

0.14

LEM (%)

51.5

49.3

49.4

50.3

9.14

0.99

Chick Weight (g)

32.7

33.1

33.0

33.2

0.51

0.82

Chick Length (cm)

15.4a

14.3b

15.3a

14.3b

0.32

0.00

Pasgar Score

9.69

9.65

9.77

9.65

0.12

0.63

HELP- High Energy Low Protein, HEHP- High Energy High Protein, LEPH- Low Energy High Protein, EEM – Early embryonic mortality, MEM – Mid embryonic mortality, LEM – Late embryonic mortality
abc
Means within the same row without common letter are different at P<0.05.
SEM- Standard error of means


Conclusion


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Received 18 October 2016; Accepted 8 January 2017; Published 1 March 2017

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