Performance of laying pullets fed on cereal-free diets based on maize offal, cassava peel and reject cashew nut meal
1. A 70-d experiment was conducted to determine the response of 26-week-old laying pullets to cereal-free diets based on maize offal, cassava peel and full-fat cashew nut meal (CNM) in comparison with a standard 550 g maize/kg reference diet. The 4 test diets all contained 315 g CNM/kg 232.5, 155.0, 77.5 and 0.0 g/kg of maize offal in combination with 77.5, 155.0, 232.5 and 315.0 g/kg of cassava peel, respectively. 2. Pullets fed on the 4 CNM-based diets consumed (P <0.05) less food than those fed on the reference diet; they also had lower (P <0.05) rates of lay , produced less (P <0.05) egg mass, had lower (P <0.05) food conversion efficiencies and their eggs had a lighter (P <0.05) yolk colour. Pullets fed some of the CNM-based diets also gained more (P <0.05) weight, the heaviest (P <0.05) being birds reared on the diet containing 315 g/kg cassava peel. Egg weight, shell thickness and albumen height from all eggs were similar. Pullets fed on the CNM-based diets had inferior (P <0.05) retention of dry matter and protein. 4. It was concluded that feeding full-fat CNM allowed for high dietary inclusion rates of cassava peel and maize offal and the resultant diets, which contained no maize, supported satisactory performance of laying hens.