A total of 300 day old Cobb and 500 broiler chicks distributed randomly to 20 pens with 15 chicks each were allocated to 5 different dietary treatments with 4 replicates per treatment in order to evaluate the growth performances of Cobb 500 broiler chickens. A complete randomized design (CRD) was used. Cowpea inclusion levels were 0% (T1), 5% (T2), 10% (T3), 15% (T4) and 20% (T5). A partial budget analysis was done for the treatments. The results of the study revealed that crude protein, dry matter (DM) and the metabolisable energy content of cowpea grain were 25.76%, 89.94% and 3307.37 kcal/kg DM, respectively. Feed intake did not differ significantly (P>0.05) between treatments or inclusion levels. Starter phase ranged from 44 to 45.16 g/bird/day; finisher phase ranged from 113.9 to 117.20 g/bird/day; and the complete experimental period ranged from 83.78 to 85.88 g/bird/day. Daily body weight gains for the entire experimental period were 34.82, 34.27, 36.81, 35.74 and 33.08g (SEM=0.46) for T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively. There was no significant (P>0.05) difference in growth performance for the complete experimental period. Mortality was at 5% for treatment T1 and T4, while for T2, T3, and T5, respectively, no mortality occurred. Partial budget analysis of the different treatments was calculated based on changes in total return. Change in total return was greater in T3 followed by T5, T4, T2 and marginal rate of return was greater in T3 (32.96) than in T2 (5.62), T5 (3.42) and T4 (2.4). This study indicate that inclusion of cowpea from 5 to 20% in the diet of broiler chickens have no adverse effect on growth performance and from the point of partial budget analysis, T3 (10% inclusion level) was the most profitable.
Key words: Broiler, cowpea, inclusion level, performance, partial budget analysis.
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