2008, 9 (1)   p. 35-44



Two hundred and ten (210) laying hens of Black Harco breed at 37 weeks in lay were fed experimental layer diets, in which fermented palm kernel meal (PKM) and copra meal (CM) were used independently to substitute for soybean meal (SBM) on protein content basis at 0%, 25%, 50% and 75%, to give seven treatments in a completely randomized design feeding trial that lasted 12 weeks. Performance characteristics and some haematological indices were evaluated in this study. Fermentation for seven days increased the crude protein of PKM (from 20.04% to 23.42%) and that of CM (from 19.63% to 23.11%). The crude fibre of the fermented PKM and CM decreased (from 15.47% to 12.44 % and 16.00% to 11.63% respectively). The feed intake (FI) was significantly highest (P<0.05) for laying hens fed 75% PKM substitution for SBM (126.06g) but lowest for those on 25% CM (115.02g). Birds fed 75% PKM had the highest (P<0.05) body weight gain (1.73g) while those on 25% CM recorded the lowest (1.50g). Hen-day production was significantly highest (P<0.05) in the control group (72.42%) but similar with the values of 69.37%, 70.35% and 69.53% recorded by laying hens fed diets containing 50% PKM, 25% CM and 75% CM respectively. Hens fed 50% CM had the highest egg shape index (0.68) while those on 75% PKM recorded the lowest value of 0.65. The control diet had the highest feed cost per kilogramme (kg) (N57.99) while 75% CM had the lowest (N46.51). Feed cost per number of egg produced was highest (P<0.05) in the control (N1.78) and similar with the values obtained for laying hens fed CM at 25%, 50% and 75% which are N1.80, N1.79 and N1.74 respectively. The compared values of PKM and CM at corresponding levels of substitution using t-test indicated significant increase (P<0.05) in FI for PKM at all levels of substitution for SBM (121.74g at 25%, 126.56g at 50% and 126.06g at 75%) over the values of 115.02g, 121.18g and 124.96g for the respective dietary substitution levels of CM at 25%, 50% and 75%. Body weight gain was higher (P<0.05) for hens on 25% PKM (1.60g) and 75% PKM (1.73g) inclusion over those on CM (1.50g and 1.58g respectively). Hen day production was consistently higher (P<0.05) in laying hens fed CM at 25%, 50% and 75% replacement for SBM than those on PKM with corresponding values of 70.35%, 69.53% and 69.09%. The highest (P<0.05) serum total protein (6.60g/dl) and serum albumin (4.60g/dl) were obtained from hens fed 75% PKM and 50% PKM respectively while the control had the lowest (4.85g/dl and 4.60g/dl). Serum globulin of 1.65g/dl was highest (P<0.05) for birds on 50% PKM and lowest (1.05g/dl) for those on 50% CM. Urea was significantly (P<0.05) highest for laying hens fed 75% PKM (36.80 mg/dl) and lowest for those on 25% CM (21.50 mg/dl). However, egg weight, egg yolk colouration and the feed efficiency (feed/kg egg) were not affected (P>0.05) by the substitution of PKM and CM for SBM. The study showed that SBM protein could be substituted optimally at 50% by either PKM or CM protein.


soybean meal, palm kernel meal, copra meal, egg production, substitution


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