Using locally produced millet as a feed ingredient for poultry production in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Using locally produced feedstuffs for poultry production in developing countries can greatly lower production costs. Pearl millet is a drought-resistant plant that produces a nutritious grain. Its cultivation in Mali spans thousands of years, but the suitability of the millet grain currently produced in Mali for poultry production is unknown. Therefore, the nutrient composition of 7 different, widely available varieties of pearl millet grown in Mali was assessed before completing experiments in which laying hens or broilers were fed diets containing 0, 14, 28, or 43% whole pearl millet. The 7 varieties of pearl millet grown in different regions of Mali all had protein concentrations that were better than corn and had apparent digestible amino acid coefficients similar to corn. The nitrogen-corrected true metabolizable energy values ranged from 3,395 to 3,738 Kcal/kg on an as-is basis. Egg production and egg weight did not differ between the hens fed the different levels of millet through out a 16-wk experiment. Broilers fed the highest level of pearl millet from 1 to 42 d of age gained less (3.088 versus 2.949 kg) body weight than those fed the control diet. However, body weight gains did not differ between the broilers fed the control diet and the diets containing 14 or 28% whole millet. The results indicate that Malian-grown pearl millet would be an effective feed ingredient for poultry production and that this small seed could be added in whole form into laying hen and broiler diets.

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