Abstract #T58

# T58
Beneficial effects of a short-term provision of forage to intensively reared broiler chickens.
Oluwaseun S. Iyasere1, Toluwatope O. Sodipo1, Anuoluwapo V. Subulokun*1, 1Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Poultry production plays a major role in bridging the protein gap in developing countries. However, the productivity of poultry in the tropics has been limited by scarcity and high prices of the conventional protein and energy sources. In modern day free-range poultry farming, it is generally assumed that the contribution of foraging to nutritional intake is negligible despite the fact that birds still obtain some of their feed requirements from forage. It became imperative to study the effect of the provision of forage on a short-term to broilers reared intensively on deep litter. Thirty-two 5-wk-old broilers (average weight of 1.2kg) of mixed sex were divided into 2 treatments namely concentrate and concentrate-pasture fed birds, each treatment had 4 replicates. Each replicate of birds were housed in separate pens (1.2 × 2.0 cm). Birds were offered either concentrate (200g) or concentrate-pasture (100 g concentrate and 100 g Tridax procumbens) every other day for 30 min. The behavior of the birds was scanned at 5 min interval for 30 min, 4 times a week for 2 weeks and the percentage of birds feeding or drinking was recorded. Feed intake and water intake was monitored during the 30 min period. Weight gain was determined at the end of the 2 weeks experimental period. After checking for normality, data were analyzed using independent t-test of SPSS statistical package (version 16). Result showed that a greater percentage of birds offered concentrate displayed higher (P < 0.001) drinking behavior and drank more water (P < 0.001) compared with birds offered concentrate-pasture. The percentage of birds feeding was greater (P < 0.001) in birds offered concentrate-pasture feed than those offered only concentrate feed. In conclusion, a short-term provision of broilers with forage (Tridax procumbens) alongside their concentrate feed enhanced their feeding behavior and reduced their concentrate intake by 34% without having a negative effect on their body weight gain. Hence, farmers could consider this as a strategy for conserving their expensive feed resources.

Key Words: behavior, body weight gain, broiler