Effect of Direct-Fed Microbial (DFM) As Administered In Water on the Health and Performance of Poultry in Hot Humid Environment

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The study aimed at determining the effectiveness of probiotics (RE3) administration in drinking water on growth of broilers and laying performance as well as health status of broiler and layer chicks in a hot humid environment. In Experiment 1, 192 four-week old broiler chickens were randomly allotted to four treatment groups, with 3 replicates of 16 birds per replicate in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The RE3 was administered at 1.5 ml/kg in feed for T2, 1.5 and 2.5 ml/L of drinking water, representing T3 and T4. The control group (T1) did not receive RE3 either in feed or water. 2.5 ml DFM was used in treatment 2 instead of 2.0 ml because of the short duration (4 weeks) for the experiment. The first experiment lasted for five (5) weeks. Parameters measured include, feed consumption, body weight, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, carcass characteristics (gizzard, liver, intestines and abdominal fat) and blood haematological parameters. The economics of production was also calculated. The provision of RE3 via feed or drinking water did not have any significant (P>0.05) effect on broiler performance and carcass characteristics. However, performance of broiler birds which has 1.5 ml DFM in feed (T2) and water (T4) showed slight improvement in performance. The blood parameters followed the same trend, except the platelet values which was significantly (P<0.05) higher (7.833) for birds on the higher level of administration of DFM in water (T4) and significantly (P<0.05) lower (6.833) for the control group that received no probiotic. T2 and T3 recorded the same platelet value of 7.333. Three hundred (300) 30-week old layer birds were used in Experiment 2. The birds were randomly allotted to 5 treatments with 3 replicates of 20 birds per replicate in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The RE3 (DFM) was administered at the levels of zero in both feed and water for the control (T1), 1.5 ml kg-1feed, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 ml/L of drinking water, representing treatment T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively. Parameters measured were, feed consumption, body weight and body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, egg production, egg weight and internal egg quality (albumen height, width and shell thickness) and the economics. Mortalities were recorded as it occurred. The layer experiment lasted for ten (10) weeks. The administration of RE3 at different concentration either in feed or water did not have any significant impact on the laying performance or egg quality of the layer birds. Similar to the broiler studies, the performance of layer birds on treatment which contained1.5 ml DFM in feed (T2) and 2.0 ml DFM in water (T5) were numerically higher in terms of egg weight, hen-housed, and hen-day egg production. It can therefore be concluded that the administration of DFM (RE3) at a concentration of 1.5 ml/L in drinking water for broiler chickens and 2.0 ml/L in drinking water for layer chickens contributes positively to their performance under hot humid conditions.
A thesis submitted to the School Of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi in Partial Fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Msc. (Animal Science) degree, May-2013