Effects of Replacing Maize with Kocho in White Leghorn Layers Ration on Egg Production, Egg and Chick Quality, Fertility and Hatchability
One hundred and eighty 26-week old white leghorn layers were used to evaluate the effect of replacing maize with kocho on egg production, egg and chick quality as well as fertility and hatchability. The layers were fed with ration containing kocho at the levels of 0% (T1), 33% (T2), 67% (T3) and 100% (T4) replacing white maize grain in the ration. The experiment was arranged in a completely randomized design with four treatments, each replicated three times with 15 birds each. The experiment lasted 12 weeks. Hens were weighed at the start and end of the experiment. Data on dry matter intake, hen day egg production (HDEP), egg weight and egg mass were recorded daily. Egg quality parameters (egg shell weight and thickness, albumen weight and height, Haugh unit and yolk weight as well as color) were determined at the interval of 7 days on 4 eggs per replicate. Kocho contained 3663 kcal/kg DM, 3.8% CP, 2.5% ether extract, 2.3% crude fiber and 1.5μg/100g beta-carotene. Highly significant (P<0.05) dry matter intake (140.2, 136.9, 133.4 and 152.4 g for T1, T2, T3 and T4). Respectively, and average daily gains (1.93, 2.02, 1.91, 1.96 g) were recorded for T4. Egg mass, egg weight and feed conversion ratios were statistically similar (P>0.05) among treatments. HDEP for T3 (53.83 %) and T4 (53.62%) was similar and significantly (P < 0.05) higher than T1 (40.54%) and T2 (43.19%). Egg quality characteristics, except yolk color were similar (P > 0.05) among treatments. Yolk color was higher (P < 0.05) for T1 compared with T3 and T4. Percent hatchability on fertile egg bases for T4 was significantly (P<0.05) lower than the remaining treatments while T2 and T3 were similar. Mid embryonic mortality was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for T4 compared to the rest of the treatments but T2 and T3 had similar values. The lowest (P < 0.05) late embryonic mortality was recorded for T1. Fertility, early and pipe embryonic mortalities, chick weight, chick length and yield percentage were
similar (P > 0.05) among treatments. The partial budget analysis indicated that replacement of maize with 67% (T3) kocho gave a higher net return. Therefore, kocho can replace maize in layers ration when there is scarcity of maize in enset growing areas of Ethiopia.