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Abstract, Journal of Animal Sciences and Livestock Production, 2018

This paper reviews the potentials and challenges using forage resources for chicken production. Forage resources are crops either planted or are growing naturally and their processed forms used to feed animals. Grasses, legumes and fodder form forage Legume crops (e.g. puereia, calapagonium, centrosema, soya bean) have higher nutritive value compare to grasses such as elephant grass and maize because legumes contain more protein. They can be processed into hey, silage and meals or fed as fresh cut. Forages are rich in vitamins and chlorophyll. They could exhibit anti-oxidation property because of presence of carotenoids and flavonoids which are essential for the health of animals. The major problems, which limit the use of forage plants in feeding of chickens are the low palatability, high level of fibre, low energy and high moisture content. Furthermore, the presence of anti-nutritive substances (tannins, saponins, mimosine, trypsin inhibitor, heamoglutinins, phytate, and hydrogen cyanide) may also limit the exploitation of these forages. Processing (such as drying, boiling and fermentation) and enzyme application could reduce these limitations. Even when processed, forages should not be fed to chickens as whole feed but as supplements. Despite these limitations, forage resources have potentials in chicken nutrition in terms of cost reduction, profit maximization and sustainable supply of feed. Therefore, farmers are encouraged to include forages at recommended supplemental level in feeding of their chickens.

Keywords: Chickens; Forage resources; Limitations; Potentials; Utilization