PERFORMANCE OF EXOTIC CHICKEN (NERA SEX-LINK) LAYERS ON FREE-RANGE SUPPLEMENTED WITH VARYING LEVELS OF COMMERCIAL LAYER MASH
Ikperite S.E1 and Kperegbeyi J.I1
1 School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Technology,
Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Nigeria.
The experiment was conducted to investigate the performance of Nera Sex-link layers on free- range supplemented with varying levels of commercial layer mash. A total of one hundred (100) Nera Sex-link layers of six weeks of age were used for the study. They were allotted to four treatments consisting of five replicates of five layers..Treatment 1, served as the control with 125g of mash per layer per day in battery cage, Treatment 2 and 3 groups were placed on free – range supplemented with 63.5g and 31.25g of mash per layer per day and Treatment 4 contained layers fed themselves from the free – range respectively. The study lasted for nine (9) weeks..The results indicated that supplementing available nutrients on free-range with 62.5g of mash per layer per day is as good as feeding the exotic chickens with 125g of mash per layer per day in battery cage without affecting performance of egg production, egg size, body weight gain and survivability in the study. Free-range keeping of exotic chicken layers with adequate mash supplementation is therefore recommended for poor resource farmers in rural areas.
Key words: Free-range, supplementation, Nera Sex-link, performance, egg size, egg production.