Effect of steam pelleting and inclusion of molasses in amaranth diets on broiler chicken performance, carcass composition and histopathology of some internal organs
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A study was carried out to determine the effect of pelleting grain amaranth diets with or without molasses on broiler chicken performance, carcass composition and histopathology of some internal organs. The grain was incorporated in eight diets at 20 or 40% levels. Four diets were in mash form while the other four were steam pelleted at 70oC. Molasses was included in four diets. The eight diets were fed to one week old broiler chicks up to eight weeks of age and compared to a maize-soyabean meal control diet. While pelleting improved (P<0.05) body weight, feed intake and feed efficiency, it also increased (P<0.05) carcass fat and reduced (P<0.05) carcass moisture. Molasses inclusion did not increase (P>0.05) feed intake, body weight or feed efficiency at 8 weeks of age. Chicks on 20% amaranth diets were heavier (P<0.05) than those on 40% inclusion at 4 weeks of age but the difference was not significant (P>0.05) at 8 weeks of age. The former group of chicks gave a more efficient (P<0.05) carcass protein retention. The pelleted diets resulted in lower (P<0.05) pancreas weights than the mash diets at four weeks of age but the difference was not significant (P>0.05) by eight weeks of age. Histopathology of the pancreas and liver showed moderate changes which could not be attributed to the feeding of amaranth. Although pelleting of amaranth diets was beneficial in improving growth, chicks on mash diets largely overcame the adverse effects of raw amaranth as they matured.