A study was conducted to evaluate the performance of pullet chicks fed diets containing varying levels of fibre and supplementary enzyme. One hundred and twenty 3 -week old Harco black pullet chicks averaging 249.87 – 250.23g body weight were randomly divided into 8 groups of 15 birds each. The groups were randomly assigned to 8 energetic (11.78-11.96 MJ/Kg ME) and nitrogenous (20% crude protein) diets in a 4 x 2 factorial arrangement involving four levels (5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0%) of fibre and two enzyme levels (0 and 0.25%). Each treatment was replicated 3 times with 5 birds per replicate. Feed and water were supplied ad libitum to the birds during the 8 weeks experimental period. Results showed that the weight gain of chicks that consumed diets without enzyme supplementation decreased significantly (P<0.01) as the dietary fibre level increased beyond 6% level . Average daily feed intake (ADFI) also increased significantly (P<0.01) at the 7 and 8% dietary fibre levels. Chicks fed 6% crude fibre diet with enzyme supplementation had significantly (P<0.01) higher average daily weight gain (ADWG), final body weight (FBW) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) and lower (P<0.01) cost of feed per kg weight gain than those fed the control diet. There was a significant (P<0.01) increase in the intake of crude fibre (CF) and nitrogen-free extract (NFE) as the fibre level in the diet increased beyond 6%. Dry matter (DM), nitrogen and CF retentions were significantly (P<0.01) decreased as the dietary fibre increased beyond 6% inclusion level. Increasing levels of crude fibre in the diets had no significant (P>0.01) effect on the WBC and MCHC but affected the PCV, Hb, RBC, MCH and MCV significantly (P<0.01). There were significant (P<0.01) interactions between dietary fibre and enzyme levels on ADWG, FBW, ADFI, FCR, PER , cost of total feed intake and feed cost per kg weight gain. Enzyme supplementation increased (P<0.01) ADWG, FBW and PER at the 6, 7 and 8% fibre inclusion levels; reduced (P<0.01) feed intake at the 5, 7 and 8% fibre inclusion levels ; reduced (P<0.01) FCR values at all the fibre inclusion levels and reduced (P<0.01) the cost of total feed intake and feed cost per kg weight gain at all the fibre inclusion levels. There were also significant (P<0.01) interactions between fibre and enzyme levels on NFE intake, DM , nitrogen, CF, EE, NFE, PCV, Hb, RBC, MCH and MCV. Enzyme supplementation reduced (P<0.01) NFE intake at the 7% fibre inclusion level; increased(P<0.01) the retention of DM at the 5% and 7 %, fibre inclusion levels; increased (P<0.01) nitrogen retention at the 5%, 6% and8% fibre inclusion levels; increased (P<0.01) CF retention at the 6%,7% and 8% fibre inclusion levels and increased(P<0.01) EE and NFE retentions at the 7% and 8% fibre inclusion levels; increased (P<0.01) PCV, Hb and RBC at the 6% and 7 %, fibre inclusion levels and increased (P<0.01) MCH and MCV at the 7% fibre inclusion level. Based on the results obtained in the present study, it was concluded that pullet chicks can be fed 6% crude fibre diet without supplementary enzyme and that up to 8% dietary fibre can be included in enzyme- supplemented pullet chicks’ diet without adverse effects on growth performance of chicks.

1.1      Background of Study
Poultry production has an unquestionable propensity to close the existing gap in animal protein consumption in the country. This according to Ibe (2004) is because of their short gestation and generation intervals, large number, fast growth, greater affordability, ease of raising, absence of taboos to production and consumption and absence of barrier to production in any climatic zone in the country. Obioha (1992a) and Oluyemi and Roberts (2000) further stated that poultry enjoys a relative advantage over other livestock in terms of its ease of management, high turn-over, quick return to capital investment and wide acceptance of its product for human consumption.

Poultry industry occupies a unique position in the livestock sector of Nigeria because of the yearning demand for its products. Ikeme et al. (1986) pointed out that the industry sprang up with the advent of large poultry farmers which produced far more eggs than can be sold locally. Agriculturalists and nutritionists generally agree that development of the poultry industry is the fastest means of bridging the protein deficiency gap in the country. Oluyemi and Roberts (2000) stated that the problem of protein malnutrition is enormous in developing countries like Nigeria; poultry is probably the fastest route to achieve any appreciable improvement in the nutritional standard of the populace because of its short generation interval, quick turnover rate and relatively low capital investment, they also stated that increased egg production is one sure way of achieving the target of providing quality animal protein at a minimum cost to the consumers.

The highest productivity of eggs in the Nigerian poultry industry apparently stemmed from the use of high producing strains of birds as well as the development of balanced feeds, intensive housing and better poultry equipment (Obioha, 1992b; Oluyemi and Roberts, 2000).

For some time now, the Nigerian poultry industry has devoted more attention to the exotic breeds of chicken due to their high performance in terms of body weight, egg-production and feed to gain ratio.

Egg is one of the most nutritious animal products. It is an excellent source of high quality protein in human food that is common and affordable. Documented reports indicate that two eggs a day are sufficient to 17.2% of an adult person’s protein needs as well as essential vitamins and trace element (Ikeme et al., 1986).

Most of the eggs in the Nigerian market are produced by exotic breeds of chicken genetically developed for egg production.

Increased egg production in Nigeria is being hampered by high cost of feed, which constitutes about 70-80% of the total cost of egg production (Acromovic, 2001). The rapid development of intensive poultry and egg production has been accompanied by an increased competition between humans and animals for maize which is a major staple food in the main poultry production zones. This competition could be alleviated by replacing maize in poultry feed by locally available agricultural by-products that are less exploited by humans. (Teguia, 1995)......

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