keywords: Broiler, feed efficiency, feed intake, strain, weight gain
Optimization of feed utilization is one of the main challenges in improvement programmes in poultry genetics. Feed utilization of one hundred and fifty day-old broiler chicks comprising of Arbo acre, Cobb and Marshall strains were appraised at the poultry unit of Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Nigeria. Data was obtained on feed intake, body weight and feed efficiency and analyzed. Analysis of variance showed that Cobb strain had the highest body weight of 523.74±6.80 g at the end of the starter phase. This was followed by Marshall strain (501.75±1.75 g) while Arbo acre had the least body weight. Although the effect of strain was not significant on the daily feed intake at the starter phase, there was significant difference (p<0.05) in the feed intake among the strains at the finisher phase. Marshall strain had the highest average daily weight gain (186.52±1.78 g) and final body weight (1804.37±0.47 g) while Arbo acre had the least records of body weight gains. The effect of strain was also significant (p<0.05) on the feed efficiency of broilers at the finisher phase. Marshall strain had the highest feed efficiency followed by Cobb while Arbo acre had the least feed efficiency during the finisher phase. The effect of sex was significant (p<0.05) on the parameters at the finisher phase with males having higher values than the female broilers. In conclusion, Marshall strain had better genetic potential for utilization of feed than Cobb and Arbo acre broiler strains.