Biology and Life Sciences
Received: 16 May 2020 , Published: 22 May 2020
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A completely randomized study was conducted at the National University of Lesotho farm (altitude 1650 metres) to address the high incidence of metabolic and skeletal disorders in broiler chickens. The incidence of ascites also increases significantly at altitudes greater than 1300 meters above sea level, presumably because of the low oxygen partial pressure. The ascites incidences are very high in Lesotho during the cold winter months, accounting for more than fifty percent of the total mortality. The main objective of the current study was to assess the effect of different feed forms on the occurrence and control of metabolic disorders in broilers. A total of (n=200) day-old Ross 308 chicks were randomly distributed into two dietary treatments made up of two broiler feed forms namely mash and pelleted diet replicated four times with twenty-five birds per replicate. The two dietary treatments had similar nutritive value across all feeding phases with exception of feed form. Chicks were housed in a well-ventilated house where treatment diets and water were offered on ad libitum basis. Data collection was done on weekly basis for production parameters such as feed intake, feed conversion ratio, live weight and growth rate while mortality, signs of ascites, lameness and Sudden Death Syndrome(SDS) data were collected daily. All dead birds were examined for the signs of ascites by presence or accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity. The findings of the current study indicated that dietary treatment had a significant (P0.05) effect on SDS. However, there were more incidences of SDS in birds offered pelleted diets than mash diet. Birds fed mash diet had fewer incidences because they were experiencing moderate growth rates compared to birds fed pelleted diet with fast growth rates. Birds offered mash spend more time consuming their feed compared to birds fed pellets and therefore, expend more energy in this process resulting in lower feed conversion efficiency. It was evident from the results that diet in mash form can be used to control the incidences of metabolic disorder by reducing growth rates of broilers.
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