Volume 44 (2007) Issue 3 Pages 273-277
The effect of incorporating graded levels of azolla meal (AZM) in diets of growing pullets was investigated. Particular reference was given to growth, haematology and subsequent laying performance. In a completely randomized design, feeding trials lasted 10 weeks and involved 120 8-weeks old Nera brown pullets. Birds were reared to 18 weeks of age on diets containing 0, 5, 10 and 15% AZM. From 19 to 30 weeks of age, all groups were switched to a common corn-soybean based layers mash of 17.5% CP and 2522kcal/kg ME. From the results obtained, apparent differences in weight gain (WG), feed intake (FI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell (RBC), haemoglobin (Hb) and white blood cell (WBC) were not significant. At the onset of lay, age at first lay was similar across the treatments. Hen-day production to 30 weeks and egg quality characteristics observed were similar across the treatments except for yolk weight, which was significantly lower for all birds on AZM diets. These results indicate a benefit from AZM at low level of supplementation and up to 15% AZM can be incorporated in diets of growing pullets without jeopardizing health and subsequent laying performance.