The added value of sunflower: performance of indigenous chicken fed a reduced-fibre sunflower cake diet in pens and on free-range


The value of Sunflower (SF) was increased by expelling oil from whole SF seed and the defatted cake used in formulating poultry diets. The SF residue was then sieved through a 1.4 mm screen to retain the coarse higher fibre fraction, while the reduced-fibre sunflower cake passed through the screen. Reduced-fibre sunflower cake included in the diet is a viable option for improving production in smallholder-owned poultry. Two hundred indigenous chicks were given broiler starter from1-28 days followed by a reduced-fibre sunflower cake diet (29-84 days). On day 29 the chicks were randomly allocated to two treatments: indigenous chickens in pens or on free range. The trial was replicated on 10 farms and managed by women. Weight gain increased with age from 0.72 kg and 0.70 kg at 8 weeks for chickens in pens and on free-range respectively to 1.19 kg and 1.05 kg at 12 weeks (P<0.05). The breast meat tissue of the indigenous chickens was high in crude protein (CP, 740 g/kg) and low in ether extract (EE, 330 g/kg). At eight weeks, feed efficiency ratio in free-range chickens (1:2.7) was better than indigenous chickens in pen (1:3.2). Interestingly, at 12 weeks, there was an improvement in feed efficiency ratio (1:3.0 for chickens in pens and 1:2.6 for he chickens on a free-range) (P<0.05). A low water: feed ratio was observed in indigenous chickens (1:1.6 free-range, 1:1.7 penned) at 8 weeks and 1:1.9 in penned and 1:1.8 in free-range chickens at 12 weeks. At 8 weeks the gross margin per bird of indigenous chicken (equivalent US$ 0.54-0.79) was low compared to 12 weeks (US$ 1.21-1.27). Return per dollar of indigenous chickens in pens (1.30) was lower than indigenous chickens on free-range (1.55). At 12 weeks, return per dollar significantly improved (1.48–1.61) in indigenous with greater improvement in chickens on the free-range.


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