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Effects of Replacing Maize with Sorghum on Growth and Feed Efficiency of Commercial Broiler Chicken | OMICS International
ISSN: 2157-7579
Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology

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Effects of Replacing Maize with Sorghum on Growth and Feed Efficiency of Commercial Broiler Chicken

Abdo Mohamed1*, Mengistu Urge2 and Kefyalew Gebeyew1

1College of Dry Land Agriculture, Jigjiga University, PO Box 1020, Jigjiga, Ethiopia

2School of Animal and Range Science, Haramaya University, PO Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

*Corresponding Author:
Abdo Mohamed
Collage of Dry Land Agriculture
PO Box 1020, Jigjig, Ethiopia
Tel: +251-913-282-439
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 25, 2015; Accepted date: March 24, 2015; Published date: March 27, 2015

Citation: Mohamed A, Urge M, Gebeyew K (2015) Effects of Replacing Maize with Sorghum on Growth and Feed Efficiency of Commercial Broiler Chicken. J Veterinar Sci Technol 6:224. doi:10.4172/2157-7579.1000224

Copyright: © 2015 Mohamed A, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Background: The ever-rising prices of feed ingredient remained to be the greatest single item determining the profit margins in poultry farming, especially in developing countries. The most appropriate strategy for these countries is to develop diets which allow locally available new ingredients to be used. This experiment was conducted to evaluate replacement of maize by sorghum on growth rate and feed conversion ratio, on Hubbard classic broiler chicken.

Methods: Two-hundred forty chicks day-old with mean initial body weight of 42.5 ± 0.24 g were used for the experiment in complete randomized design. The experiment consisted of 28 days starter phase and 21 days finisher phase. The treatment were T1 (maize based, control), T2 (15% sorghum), T3 (30% sorghum) and T4 (45% sorghum). The experiment lasted for 7 weeks, during which dry matter intake (DMI), body weight gain were measured and Feed conversion ratio.

Results: The laboratory chemical analysis of feeds showed that the CP content and ME values of the formulated feed were 22% CP and 3200 kcal/kg DM; and 21 CP and 2883 kcal/kg DM, for starter and finisher ration, respectively. No significant (P>0.05) difference was seen in daily, total DM intake, Final body weight, average daily body weight gain and DM conversion ratio between treatments and the control group for starter, finisher and entire period

Conclusion: From the present study, it can be conclude that replacement of sorghum with maize up to 45% appeared to be biologically better and not having adverse effect on broiler performance.


Sorghum; Maize; Replacing; Broiler; Ration


CP: Crud Protein; CF: Crude Fiber; DM: Dry Matter; FCE: Feed Conversion Efficiency; FCR: Feed Conversion Ratio; ME: Metabolizable Energy; NSC: Noug Seed Cake; OM: Organic Matter; GIT: Gastro Intestinal Tract; LSD: Least Significant Difference; DMI: Dry Matter Intake; CBD: Completely Randomized Design; TDN: Total Digestible Nutrient


Poultry production is an important economic activity in Ethiopia. Beside its social and cultural benefits, it plays a significant role in family nutrition [1]. The total poultry population at country level is estimated to be about 38.13 million [2] and more than ninety five percent of these population consists of local breed types that are owned by rural farm households and kept under scavenging management system [3]. The remaining proportion comes from the commercial sector.

The major cost of production of egg and meat in commercial poultry production is feed. Feed cost can be 55-75% of the total production expenses depending on the geographical location, season and country. In response to this, researches conducted in Ethiopia also focused, among other things, on determining the feeding value of locally available feed resources, comparative economic and biological evaluation of different feed resources and assessment of the values of various feed ingredients and supplements in improving product quality [4]. However, further effort in this line is becoming evident as a result of changing conditions and a need for widening the range of the possible feed ingredients. This is particularly important in Ethiopia since the availability and cost of feed is one of the major limitations to poultry production because of the fact that there is shortage of cereal grains, protein sources, vitamins and mineral supplements required to formulate balanced poultry rations, which are further aggravated by the competition between poultry and human for food and the upcoming alternative uses of major feed ingredients of poultry, such as maize.

Maize is a major source of dietary energy in poultry nutrition. Although it is produced throughout the world, there is stiff competition for maize among human’s, livestock and the industry. This is because maize is high in energy as compared to other cereal grains [5]. As a result of its multiple uses and relatively higher moisture requirement for growth, use of maize in drier areas, such as most part of Ethiopia may be limited in the future. In comparison to maize, sorghum can be grown successfully on relatively poor soils and with lower moisture condition. According to Olomu [6] the ME and percent crude protein content of sorghum are 3270 kcal kg-1 and 9.5%, respectively, which is comparable with 3319 kcal kg-1 ME and 10.1% CP, respectively of maize. The percent ash (1.2) and fiber (7.8) are higher than that of maize (1% ash and 5.5% CF) and sorghum is relatively similar in cost with maize compared to other cereal such as wheat [7]. A common complaint about sorghum is that it has high tannin levels [8].

As a result, sorghum is frequently substituted for corn in poultry rations in other regions of the world, including USA, depending on relative prices [8]. In Africa, such as Ethiopia and West Africa, however, feed and poultry producers rely on maize as the principal cereal in the ration. This might be partly because of the unavailability of local information on the inclusion level and effect of sorghum on performance of birds such as broiler. The objectives of this study were; to evaluating the effect of replacing sorghum for maize on the growth rate and feed efficiency.

Materials and Methods

Description of the study area

The experiment was conducted at Haramaya University which is located 515 km East of Addis Ababa. The site is located at an altitude of 1950 meter above sea level at 9°26´N latitude and 42°3´E longitude. The mean annual rainfall and temperature of the study area is 790 mm and 16°C, respectively [9].

Experimental design and dietary treatment

The broilers were assigned to four dietary treatment groups following a completely randomized design (CRD). Each treatment group had three replicates of 20 birds per treatment. The broilers were randomly distributed to replicate groups to give near uniform initial weights for all the groups. In the control diet (T1), maize served as the main energy source and therefore has no sorghum grain inclusion. The three test diets designated as T2, T3 and T4, are formulated to contain 15, 30 and 45 percent sorghum grain in replacement for maize, respectively.

Ingredients and experimental rations

The feed ingredients used in the formulation of the different experimental rations of the present study were sorghum grain, corn grain, wheat short, soybean meal, noug seed cake, vitamin premix, and salt. Sorghum and corn grains were purchased from the local market; Wheat short was obtained from Dire Dewa flour mill factory, and soybean meal, noug seed cake and vitamin premix were purchased from Addis Ababa. All the ingredients, except wheat short, vitamin premix and limestone was hammer milled to 5 mm sieve size and stored until required for formulation of the experimental rations.

Chemical analysis was done from representative samples of the individual ingredients. Based on the ingredient analysis results; four treatment rations were formulated. The proportion of each ingredient used to formulate the starter and finisher ration are given in Tables 1 and 2.

Ingredients Treatments
T1 T2 T3 T4
Maize 40 34 28 22
Sorghum* 0 6 12 18
Wheat short 13 13 13 13
Soyabean 22 22 22 22
Noug sees cake 25 25 25 25
Premix 1 1 1 1
Limestone 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Salt 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

Table 1: Proportion of ingredients used in formulating the starter rations (%).

  Ingredients Treatments
T1 T2 T3 T4
Maize 40 34 28 22
Sorghum* 0 6 12 18
Wheat short 25 25 25 25
Soyabean 15 15 15 15
Noug sees cake 17 17 17 17
Premix 1 1 1 1
Limestone 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Salt 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

Table 2: Proportion of ingredients used in formulating the finisher rations (%).

Management of experimental birds

240 Hubbard classic chickens were raised in a floor system pen which is partitioned into 12 pens, each with a dimension of 1.5*1.5 m and stocking density of 10 chickens per m2 from day old to seven weeks of age. The pens and the equipment were properly cleaned and disinfected and infra-red lamps, drinker and feeder were placed in each pen before the arrival of the chicks. The day old baby chicks were purchased from debrezeit (DZARC). Feed were given to chicks on one feeder and drinker in group for each replication until three weeks and then after one feeder and drinker were added. Body weight change was taken using sensitive balance every week starting from day old. The chicks were vaccinated with live vaccine against marek’s disease at the first day and against Newcastle Disease (HB1) on third and 21st day through ocular and against Gumburo at seventh day through drinking water. Water was available all time and weighed quantities of diets were given on ad libitum base to the birds.

Data Collection

Chemical analysis

Representative samples were taken from each of the feed ingredients used in the experiment and analyzed before formulating the actual dietary treatments. In the same way, samples were taken from each of the treatment diets at each mixing and from leftovers every day during the experiment and kept in paper bags until analyzed. The left over from each pen was collected each morning before fresh feed is given, cleaned from external contaminants by use of 5 mm mesh size sieve and by hand picking, weighed and pooled by treatment, thoroughly mixed and sample was taken and the rest discarded.

All samples were analyzed for dry matter, nitrogen, ether extracts, crude fiber and ash by employing the proximate analysis method of the [10] CP was calculated. Metabolizable energy (ME) of the experimental diets was determined by indirect methods, by using the formula given by Wiseman [11] as follows:

ME (Kcal/kg DM)=3951+54.4 EE - 88.7 CF - 40.8 Ash

Dry matter intake

Mean daily dry matter intake was determined every day by subtracting the amount of ort collected from the amount of feed offered. Dry matter intake was computed by multiplying the feed intake by their respective laboratory dry matter.

Body weight gain

Birds were weighed in group with sensitive balance until three weeks on weekly base and individually thereafter until the end of the experiment and the average body weight of the chicks were computed for each replication. Mean pen weights were used for data analysis. Weekly body weight gains of chicks were determined.

Dry matter conversion ratio

Dry matter conversion ratio relates dry matter consumed per unit of weight gained. Dry matter conversion ratio was calculated by dividing the mean daily dry matter intake by the mean daily body weight gains [12].

Statistical analysis

The data collected were analyzed as completely randomized design following the procedures suggested by Gomez and Gomez [13] employing SAS. Where the analysis of variance indicated the existence of significant difference among treatment means, least significant difference (LSD) was employed to test and locate the treatment means that are significantly different from each other. The model for data analysis was; Yijk=μ+τi+εijk; Where Yij=response variable; μ=over all means; ti=treatment effect; bj=block effect; eij=random error.

Results and Discussion

Result of chemical analysis

The energy and protein content of sorghum used in the present study is 3986.4 Kcal/kg DM and 11.4%, respectively which is comparable with that reported by [7] 11.6% CP and 3800.1 Kcal/kg DM ME. Douglas et al. [14] reported ME of 3838 and 3200 kcal/kg for low and high-tannin sorghum, respectively. Both energy and protein content of sorghum is slightly higher than maize, which indicate that sorghum to be good feed ingredient to replace maize in poultry ration. The CF of sorghum and maize used in the present study was 2.3% and 6.5% which is in line with Eekeren et al. [15] and Zena [16], respectively. Jacob et al. [17] also reported crude fiber contents of serana sorghum (2.7%) and white sorghum (3.4). The CF content of the inclusion of adequate amounts and types of fiber might benefit the development of the GIT and improve growth performance (Tables 3 and 4).

Ingredients Chemical composition (%)
DM CP CF EE Ash ME (Kcal/kg DM ME)
Sorghum 89 11.4 2.3 7.1 3.6 3986.35
Maize 88 9.6 6.5 6.8 1.5 3683.17
Wheat short 89 15.3 6.3 8.6 3.6 3717.58
Soybean meal 92 39.2 4.1 12.4 6.1 4013.01
Noug seed cake 92 34.4 18.4 17.7 9.8 2881.96

Table 3: Chemical composition of ingredient (dry matter base).

Treatment Nutrient% DM
DM CP CF EE Ash ME(Kcal/kg DM ME)
Offered T1 90 22.3 6.3 7.5 7.4 3498.27
T2 91 22.1 6.5 7.9 7.6 3494.13
T3 90 21.9 6.8 8.6 8.5 3468.88
T4 91 22.6 7.2 6.1 7.3 3346.36
Ort T1 88 20. 1 5.8 6.1 7.0 3482.78
T2 89 21.0 5.4 6.8 7.1 3552.26
T3 88 20.3 5.1 5.5 6.4 3536.71
T4 90 20.8 6.4 5.9 6.8 3426.84

Table 4: The chemical compositions of feed offered and leftovers (dry matter basis).

Dry matter intake

The dry matter intakes (DMI) and body weight of the four groups of chicks fed the four treatment rations during the starter phase are shown in Table 5. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in daily and total DMI among the treatment groups. Numerically both total and daily DMI showed higher with increasing level of sorghum in ration. The numerical increments of dry matter intake as an increasing level of sorghum is might be due to the low amount of crude fiber and slightly higher amount of energy and protein contents. Similarly, Nyannor et al. [18] reported no difference in feed consumption of chicks fed high digestible sorghum from 1 to 21 days of growing period. The result of the current study generally support that research conducted in Kenya replacement of sorghum for maize up to 40 percent did not significantly vary [19].

Parameter T1 T2 T3 T4 SEM Sign.
Total DM intake (g/kg) 1847.9 1860.9 1863.3 1872.5 5.24 Ns
Daily DM intake (g/day) 65.9 66.4 66.5 66.8 0.18 Ns
Initial weight (g) 42.5 43.2 43.0 42.7 0.25 Ns
Final weight (g) 791.3 792.7 826.0 883.3 16.80 Ns
Daily weight gain (g/day) 28.3 28.3 29.5 31.5 0.59 Ns
Weight change (g) 748.8 749.5 783 840.6 16.73 Ns
Mortality (%) 0.3 1.3 1.6 1.6 0.30 Ns
FCR 1.32 1.34 1.20 1.29 0.02 Ns

Table 5: Dry matter intake, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and mortality of commercial broiler fed ration containing increasing level of sorghum replacing maize during starter phase (1 to 28 days).

The mean daily and total DMI of broiler chicken fed the four treatment diets during the finisher phase are presented in Table 6. Similar to the starter phase the total and daily DMI during finisher were not significantly (P>0.05). The present results agrees with results of Medegu et al. [7] who reported no significant difference in DMI intake in chick fed sorghum or millet as replacement for maize in semi-arid zone of Nigeria. Cramer et al. [20] also reported similar DMI were recorded in chicks fed Sorghum-based diets subjected to various manufacturing procedures from 3-6 weeks.

Parameter T1 T2 T3 T4 SEM Sign.
Total DM intake (g/kag) 5061.9 5108.7 5127.8 5261.1 45.29 Ns
Daily DM intake (g/day) 241.0 243.2 244.1 250.5 2.16 Ns
Initial weight (g) 791.33 792.67 826.0 883.3 16.80 Ns
Final weight (g) 1618.0 1688.6 1730.7 1768.5 38.48 Ns
Weight change (g) 825.3 896 904.7 885.2 36.16 Ns
Daily weight (g/day) 77.0 80.4 82.4 84.2 1.83 Ns
FCR 3.1 3.0 3.0 3.0 0.08 Ns

Table 6: Dry matter intake, body weight gain and feed conversion ratio of commercial broiler fed ration containing increasing level of sorghum replacing maize during finisher phase (29 to 49 days).

The dry matter intakes during the entire period (1 to 49 days) of the experiment were presented in Table 7. Similar to starter and finisher phase total and dry matter intake were not significantly different (P>0.05). This is may be due to the slight difference in chemical composition between sorghum and maize. This result is agree with the result reported by Kyarisiima et al. [21] no significant difference in feed intake between the maize based diet and the two diets that contained wood ash extract treated sorghum. Okeye et al. [22] Discussed average feed intake was statistically similar between the treatments in checks fed graded level of sorghum replacing for maize. Dry matter intake during the entire period showed increasing trend as the level of sorghum inclusion increased, but not significantly different, this might be due to the lower crude fiber content as compared to the control group or maize. Talha et al. [23] also reported no significant difference in feed intake of broiler reared on germinated low tannin sorghum during the entire production period.

Parameter T1 T2 T3 T4 SEM Sign.
Total DM intake 6909.8 6981.1 6991.1 7122.0 44.59 Ns
Daily DM intake 141.0 142.5 142.5 145.3 0.91 Ns
Initial weight 42.5 43.2 43.0 42.7 0.25 Ns
Final weight 1618.0 1688.6 1730.7 1768.5 38.48 Ns
Weight change 1574.8 1646.1 1688 1725.5 38.48 Ns
Daily weight 33.0 34.5 35.3 36.1 0.78 Ns
Mortality 0.3 1.3 1.7 1.7 0.30 Ns
FCR 4.3 4.1 4.0 4.0 0.08 Ns

Table 7: Dry matter intake, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and mortality of commercial broilers fed ration containing increasing level of sorghum replacing maize during the entire period (1 to 49 days).

Body weight gain

There is no significant difference (P>0.05) was observed in daily as well as final weight gain during among treatments. Melaku [24] reported no significant difference average daily weight gain of Hubbard classic broiler strain during the starter phase. During the starter phase (1 to 3 weeks) chicks attend statistically similar body weight gain when corn replaced by sorghum from 25% up to 50% [25]. The average daily and final body weight gain during the finisher phase is presented in Table 6 and no significant difference (P>0.05) was observed among the treatments. Although there is no significant difference among treatments, body weight tends to increase as sorghum level increase. Similarly, Nyamambi et al. [26] reported during grower and finisher period, days 22 to 42 and day 56, there were no significant differences in average daily gain.

In the current study initial weight, average daily and final weight of chicks in different dietary treatment group were not significantly (P>0.05) different. Mean daily and final weight gain showed increasing trend as the level of sorghum inclusion increase. This might be due to similar nutrient composition of ingredient diet and decreasing trend of crude fiber content of treatment diet as the level of sorghum in the diet increases. The current finding is comparable with the result of Medegu et al. [7] who stated that final body weight, overall weight gain, daily feed intake, daily weight gain and feed conversion ratio showed no significant differences among all the treatment groups (Table 6 and Figure 1).


Figure 1: Weekly body weight change of experimental birds.

Dry matter conversion ratio

Feed conversion ratio of the experimental chicks expressed as grams of feed consumed per unit body weight gain are presented in Table 6. There is no significant (P>0.05) difference between the treatment groups in mean feed to gain ratio during the first four week of growth. T1 and T2 relatively have better dry matter conversion ratio as compared to T3 and T4. This result is in agreement with Kumar et al. [25] no significant difference in dry matter conversion ratio during the starter phase. Dry matter conversion ratio during finishing phase of experimental period was not also significantly different (P>0.05) among the treatments. This result is in conformity with Medegu et al. [7] who found as no significance difference in dry matter conversion ratio in broiler consumed Sorghum or millet as replacement for maize.

Dry matter conversion ratio during the entire period is presented in Table 7 and similar to starter and finisher phase was not significantly (P>0.05) different among the treatments. The current finding agrees with who reported feed conversion ratio was statistically similar between dietary treatments during the entire experimental period. Dief et al. [27] observed the absence of significant difference in feed conversion ratio for Hubbard classic broiler chicks at the end of six weeks of feeding. Jacob et al. [17] reported no significant difference in feed conversion ratio between treatments. Okeye et al. [22] also reported no significant difference in feed conversion ratio when maize replaced by sorghum up to 20% (Table 7).


The results of laboratory chemical analysis showed that the CP content and ME values of the formulated feed were 22% CP and 3200 kcal/kg DM; and 21 CP and 2883 kcal/kg DM, for starter and finisher ration, respectively. Therefore, the results obtained from present study revealed that replacement of maize with sorghum up to 45% were not have adverse effect on the performance of broiler chicken. More over T4, 45% sorghum inclusion resulted in better body weight gain.

Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Authors’ Contributions

AM conceived the study, designed and conducted all laboratory experiments; analyzed and interpreted experimental results. MU and KG participated in the proposal, study design and manuscript preparations. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The author’s heart fully appreciation is to ministry of education for funding the whole cost the research work. Most truthful thanks go to all my friends and family, Debirezeyit Research Center, to all Haramaya University Animal Nutrition laboratories, for their valuable assistance in the laboratory work of this study.


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