A study was conducted to determine dietary energy levels for optimum productivity and carcass characteristics of indigenous Venda chickens raised in closed confinement. Four dietary treatments were considered in the first phase (1 to 7 weeks) on two hundred day-old unsexed indigenous Venda chicks indicated as EVS1, EVS2, EVS3 and EVS4 (11, 12, 13 and 14 MJ ME/kg DM, respectively) and each treatment was replicated five times. In the second phase (8 - 13 weeks), 160 indigenous Venda female chickens, aged eight weeks, were randomly allocated to four dietary treatments and each treatment was replicated five times in a completely randomized design. The diets used in both trials were isonitrogenous but with different energy levels. A quadratic equation was used to determine dietary energy levels for optimum feed intake, growth rate, FCR and ME intake at both the starter and grower phases and the carcass characteristics of the birds at 91 days. Dietary energy levels of 12.91, 12.42, 12.34 and 12.62 MJ ME/kg DM feed supported optimum feed intake, growth rate, FCR and ME intake, respectively, for the starter phase. At the grower phase, dietary energy levels of 12.56, 12.66, 12.62 and 12.71 MJ ME/kg DM feed supported optimum feed intake, growth rate, FCR and ME intake, respectively. Carcass, drumstick, thigh and wing had optimum weights at dietary energy levels of 13.81, 13.23, 13.43 and 13.18 MJ ME/ kg DM, respectively. Thus, dietary energy level for optimization depended on the particular production parameter in question.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology