FRANCE – A new study shows that growing geese can be fed loose-mix without adversely affecting their performance of feeding behaviour.
Based on their results, the researchers recommend loose-mix feeding for growing geese because it influenced their feed behaviour only slightly but increased the birds’ weight at the end of the growing period.
The aim of the trial, published recently in Poultry Science, was to study the influence of loose-mix feeding on behaviour, feed intake and bodyweight of growing geese.
First-named author, J. Arroyo from the University of Toulouse and co-authors with INRA and ASSELDOR explain that they divided 252 day-old geese (Anser anser) into two groups differing in the form of diet they received between 42 and 98 days of age (AMEn 11.55MJ per kg, crude protein 16 per cent): a complete pelleted diet containing 500g of sorghum per kg (control group) or a mixture containing 500g of protein-rich pellets and 500g of sorghum whole seeds per kg (mixed group).
Feed intake was measured daily from 42 to 48 days and every three days from 49 to 98 days. Individual bodyweight was measured weekly from 42 to 98 days. Goose behaviour was monitored by the scan sampling method throughout the experiment, which was divided into five periods according to the timing of access to feed: period 1 from 42 to 55 days (ad libitum feeding access), period 2 from 56 to 62 days (2 + 2 hours feeding access), period 3 from 63 to 70 days (2 hours feeding access), period 4 from 71 to 94 days (1 hour feeding access), and period 5 from 95 to 97 days (3 hours feeding access).
Over the whole period, the feed intake (13,968 and 14,480g) and the feed conversion ratio (8.53 and 8.15) were similar in both groups (P=0.112 and P=0.168; respectively).
Body weight was similar in both groups from 42 to 91 days of age but at 98 days of age, bodyweight was 3.7 per cent lower in the control than in the mixed group (P=0.006).
Goose behaviour was influenced by period because the percentage of birds feeding increased when the daily access time to the feed decreased (P<0.001) but not by group (P>0.05).