Scientific ASIA

Tiger-Nut Can Be Used to Replace Maize in Poultry Feed Production

Poultry feed is food that is used in poultry farming including chickens, geese, ducks, and other domestic birds. In the past, poultry was mostly kept on general farms where they fed on eating insects, grain spilled by cattle and plant, s sediments around the farm.

This was often supplemented by grain, calcium supplements such as oyster shells, garden, and household waste. After the specialization, poultry farming farmers kept flocks too large to be fed in this way, and nutritionally complete poultry feed was developed. Modern feeds for poultry consists of grain, mineral supplements, protein supplements like soybean oil meal, and vitamin supplements.  The elevated price of conventional feedstuffs and firm competition between man and industry has been a core concern in recent times among poultry farmers. These challenges have a major impact on the quantity and quality of animal protein available for human consumption.

To address these challenges, the poultry industry has been focused on the utilization of unconventional feedstuff that is easily available without stiff competition with human food. Cyperus esculentus is a crop that is commonly known as ‘Tiger-nuts’. This crop belongs to the family of Cyperaceae and widely cultivated in Nigeria mostly for its rich vegetable milk as a substitute for cow milk (Chalupa-Krebzdak et al., 2018).

Tiger nut is high in fiber and essential amino acids with other nutritional ingredients that make it an essential ingredient in the poultry feed. ElShenawy et al. (2019) studied that starchy content tiger nut provides prebiotic properties to colon bacteria in livestock while Chukwuma et al. (2010) informed that milk of tiger nut has been found to be good in preventing arteriosclerosis. These exceptional features of tiger nuts make it a substitute for maize in the broiler chicken’s diets for the improvement of growth rate and blood status. ‘International Journal of Poultry Sciences’ presented a research of Ilo et al. (2021) to investigate the effect of tiger nut on the growth performance of broiler chicken.

The researchers informed that the use of tiger-nut in the diets of broiler chicken did not have any harmful effect that could be attributed to its use on the hematology of the broilers. The results indicated the improvement in the growth rate of broilers fed tiger nut, this was seen in the weight of cut part of the broiler birds. Therefore, an increase in body weight gain and best feed efficiency was observed that was the best level for maize replacement with tiger nuts. So, they concluded that tiger-nut can be used to replace maize at a 5% inclusion level for both the starter and finisher broiler birds. Further studies are needed to evaluate the histology of the organs (liver and kidney) to check if there are detrimental effect of these tiger-nut on the broiler chicken.

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