Dietary wood charcoal can be a potential low-cost feed supplement for the improvement of performance in broiler chicken production, while reducing loss of nutrients through birds’ excreta. However, it has no nutritive value and excess feeding may lead to constipation and thereby hamper birds’ production performance. An experiment was conducted with a total of 24 male broiler chickens which were subjected to a commercial broiler finisher diet with 0, 1.5, 3, and 6% wood charcoal (on a dry matter basis), respectively. This was to ascertain the level of dietary wood charcoal that can be included in a commercial broiler feed without negative effects on production performance of broiler chickens, nutrient utilization and losses through birds’ excreta under adverse climatic conditions in Northern Ghana. Birds’ feed consumption, body weight gain, as well as excreta quality were assessed for four days. Results showed that dietary wood charcoal can replace up to 6% of a commercial broiler chicken feed without negative effects on growth performance, nutrient utilization and excreta consistency, while reducing the phosphorous concentration in broiler excreta. Future research should analyze the long-term effect of feeding charcoal on performance and health of laying hens.
Key words: Broiler chickens, dietary wood charcoal, nutrient utilization, production performance, excreta quality.
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