A participatory study was carried out in four villages of central Tanzania to appraise existing and potential scavengeable feed resources available for rural poultry. In addition, proximate analysis of selected scavengeable feed resources including chicken crop and gizzards contents was carried out to quantify their feeding value. Results indicate that the most important scavengeable feed resources in the dry season were cereal grains and their by-products, oil seeds and oil seed cakes and in the wet season were forage leaves, flowers, seeds, garden vegetables, insects and worms. Changes in seasonal conditions, farming activities, land size available for scavenging and the flock size had a major influence on the feed availability. The mean dry matter (DM) of the feed resources was 888 ± 1.8 g per kg. Gross energy ranged from 17.1 to 29.3 MJ kgDM-1 and crude protein (CP) from 64.5 to 418 g kgDM-1. Crude fibre (CF) ranged from 33.3 to 230 g kgDM-1 and ether extract (EE) ranged from 16.0 to 488 g kgDM-1. The mineral composition ranged from 1.5 to 18.4 g kgDM-1 for calcium (Ca); 3.6 to 17.3 g kgDM-1 for phosphorus (P); 9.5 to 34.5 g kgDM-1 for potassium (K) and 0.2 to 8.5 g kgDM-1 for magnesium (Mg). Physical analysis of crop and gizzard contents indicated that the diets consumed by scavenging chickens consisted of cereals and cereal by-products (29.0%), vegetables and forage materials (1.8%), seeds and seed by-products (3.4%), insects and worms (0.2%), egg shells, feathers and bones (0.3%), unidentified feeds (41.5%), inert materials (0.8%) and sand/grit (23.0%). The diet consumed as determined from the crop/gizzard contents had DM of 479 ± 9.6 g per kg and metabolizable energy (ME) of 10.1 ± 0.5 MJ kgDM-1. Nutrient composition in kgDM-1 of the crop and gizzard contents was: 80.4g CP; 70.7g EE; 45.7g CF; 234g Ash; 6.6g Ca; 6.5g P; 12.1g K and 2.6g Mg. The study showed that the nutrient concentrations of scavengeable feed resources consumed by rural poultry were below the recommended levels for optimum growth and egg production.
Key words: Central Tanzania, rural poultry, scavengeable feed resources, nutrient composition, crop and gizzard.
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