Oilseeds in full-oil or partly oil-extracted form are a source of both energy and protein for extensive and intensive poultry systems. Cotton (Gossypium spp.) Glanded cotton seed cake (CSC) is a high-demand supplement fed to ruminants, but if available it can be fed in amounts up to 25 percent in the diets of layers and broilers without adversely affecting egg production and growth (Branckaert, 1968). Poultry are tolerant of the gossypol found in CSC, but it can cause an olive discolouration of egg yolks, which consumers do not like. Addition of 0.25 percent ferrous sulphate should be added routinely to laying hen rations containing up to ten percent CSC.
Sesame (Sesamum indicum)
The feed consumption and conversion rates for birds fed various forms of raw unhulled sesame seeds were better than those for birds fed dehulled but whole sesame seeds, confirming the practice of smallholders who use whole sesame seeds as a supplement for scavenging poultry. Sesame seeds should used in amounts between 20 and 35 percent of the ration.
Groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea)
Groundnuts may be used in the oil-extracted cake form to make up 8 to 24 percent of the ration. Mouldy groundnuts may contain toxic substances, the most dangerous of which is aflatoxin.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
Coconut meal can be used to form 50 percent of the ration, especially when combined with a high-energy source such as cassava meal. It is low in lysine, isoleucine, leucine and methionine.
Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)
Sunflower seeds can be fed whole, or the decorticated meal can be used to replace groundnut cake and soybean meal and up to two-thirds of fishmeal. It has the highest sulphur amino acid content of all the major oilseeds.
Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis)
Most oil palms are processed locally. The by-products are kernels and an aqueous solution of oil, fibre and solids. This solution can be filtered to remove the fibre (which is used as fuel). This leaves an aqueous mixture called palm oil sludge (POS), which supplies feed energy and fatty acids. Sludge processed using chemical solvents should not be used, as the chemical residue may be toxic to the birds. It can be fermented and used in smallholder poultry systems or dried to form up to 40 percent of commercial compound feeds (Hutagalang, 1981). Palm kernels are processed locally into palm kernel oil by heat or cold-water extraction. The residue from heat extraction is similar to ash and of no use in poultry feed, but the residue from water extraction is very nutritious and palatable to birds, and can be used in the same way as groundnut cake. The meal can provide up to 30 percent of the ration. However, the product is low in the sulphur amino acids.
Other oilseeds that have been fed to poultry under research conditions include rubber, amaranth, Niger seed (Nueg), breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), locust bean (Ceratonia siliqua), African oil bean, melon, mango and castor oil. Okra seed (Hibiscus esculentus) has not yet been evaluated as a protein source for poultry, and although it is lower in protein, it compares favourably with soybean in all other nutrient components. Since okra is widely grown by smallholders and the seeds are kept for planting, it may be a potential source of protein for smallholder poultry.
Bambara groundnut (Voandzeia subterranea)
This is a good source of protein with a high lysine content. As the nut is not widely eaten, the plant is grown mainly as a mulch crop and the foliage is scavenged by poultry.
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