Cottonseed meal as a feeding stuff for chickens

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Three experiments were conducted to assess the nutritive value of cottonseed meal as a feeding stuff in the diets of broiler chickens, growing pullets and laying chickens. Cottonseed meal was included largely at the expense of fishmeal. In Experiment 1, a total of 360 Ross broiler chicks obtained at one day old were randomly allotted in equal numbers to six experimental diets incorporating 0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0 and 12.5% cottonseed meal. In Experiment 2, 300 Shaver Starcross 579 pullets of eight weeks of age were randomly assigned to five grower diets containing 0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5 and 10.0% CSM. In Experiment 3, a total of 288 Shaver Starcross 579 pullets of 30 weeks of age were used in a layer study. The birds were randomly allotted to six dietary treatment groups of 48 birds each. Graded levels of CSM, 0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0 and 12.5%, were included in their diets. All the diets were isocaloric and isonitrogenous. In Experiment 1, dietary treatments had significant effects on total weight gains, feed conversion ratio and feed cost per kilogram liveweight gain. Diet 6, with 12.5% cottonseed meal, supported the highest weight gain of 1.89 kg and also gave the best feed conversion ratio of 2.40 as well as the lowest feed cost per kilogram liveweight of ¢1429.61 (US$0.55). With the growing pullets (Expt. 2), average weight gain, age at which first egg was laid, feed conversion efficiency and feed cost per kilogram bodyweight gain were significantly (P< 0.05) affected by cottonseed meal inclusion. Feed intake, age at 50% egg production and first egg weight did not significantly (P< 0.05) vary from values obtained from the control diet. Based on the data obtained, inclusion of up to 12.5% and 10% CSM in the diets would seem to be optimum for broiler chickens and growing pullets respectively. There was a significant increase in egg production as the level of CSM increased in the diet up to 10%. The diet containing 2.5% CSM was as good as the 10% on egg production. The inclusion of CSM in the diet also reduced the feed cost (per kilogram of feed). Cottonseed meal inclusion in the diet, significantly reduced weight gains of laying chickens. Its inclusion had no significant effects on daily feed intake, feed-to-egg ratio, egg weight and egg quality. No yolk or albumen discolouration were found in stored eggs, even after 3 weeks of storage. Mean eggshell thickness and mortality were significantly (P< 0.05) increased by dietary treatments. Mortality was however very low and did not follow any particular pattern. The cause of death in most cases was associated with reproductive disorders, especially impacted oviduct. It was more economical to use diets incorporating CSM due largely to the progressive reductions in the use of fishmeal and the attendant savings in costs.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of PhD in Animal Science degree, 2003