Performance of ostriches fed diets incorporated with oil palm frond as a fibre source

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E.A. Engku Azahan*

Abstract

Three experiments were carried out with young ostriches aged between 9 and 15 weeks. The experiments were conducted to determine the effect of oil palm fronds (OPF) inclusion in compound feeds on growth performance of ostriches. Experiment 1 investigated the use of OPF as a direct replacement for alfalfa leaf meal in a compound feed while experiment 2 evaluated the effect of various inclusion levels of OPF. Preferences of the growing ostrich to feeds with inclusion of varying amounts of OPF, in a choice-feeding situation, were studied in experiment 3. Results from experiment 1 indicated that at 22% level of inclusion, OPF could replace alfalfa leaf meal in a compound feed to yield comparable growth performance. Inclusions of 4% and 14% OPF in compound feeds in experiment 2 resulted in significantly better gains in the animal’s body weight than the inclusion at 25% level. The animals in the 14% group showed better growth than those in the 4% group. In the choice-feeding experiment, growing ostriches were observed to select significantly more feed from the 4% and 14% OPF feeds than the feed which contained 25% OPF meal. It is concluded that OPF could be included in the feeds of growing ostriches to replace imported leaf or alfalfa leaf meal. A medium level of 14% OPF inclusion in the feed, which was equivalent to a crude fibre level of 12%, is suggested.

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