Prof. Dr. ISMAIL YILDIRIM
A feed tryout was conducted to estimate the effects of dietary inclusion of Sargassum wightii, as a supplement to Lahore pigeons, on their growth and reproductive performance under Indian circumstances. A total of 50 pairs of 2-months old Lahore pigeons were divided into five groups (each with 10 pairs) and the pigeons in the first group were fed only with basal feed while those in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th groups were fed with the basal feed and 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg of Sargassum powder respectively per day. Availability of minerals and other dietary components from Sargassum powder was appreciably reflected in the body weight gain, feed intake and feed conversion rate of pigeons. The maturation period was shortened from 180±12 to 160±10 days, the egg cycles were increased from 4±1to 6±2 per year, the number of eggs was increased from 8.00±2.0 to 14.0±1/pair/ year, egg interval of brood was reduced from 37±3 to 34±2 hours, the egg weight was increased from 14.44±1.2 to 15.81±1.28 g, the percentage of fertile eggs was increased from 82.7 - 82.2% to 85.3 - 89.0 %, the eggs’ hatchability was increased from 85.3 to 89.0%, the embryo death was reduced from 3.3±1. 1 to 2.8±1.2, squab mortality was reduced from 19.4±2 to 10.1±2, the weight gain of young squabs was increased from 492±12.21 to 505±12.30 g/squab and the squab production was raised from 6.0±0.3 to 7.2±0.2 pairs / year. These growth and reproductive performances of pigeons increased with increase in the dosage of Sargassum powder from 50 to 200 mg / bird / day. In pigeons fed with 150 and 200 mg of Sargassum powder/day, the reproductive potential observed in the third year was higher than that in the control pigeons in the very first year, which implied that no one component of Sargassum powder had induced reproductive stress in the experimental pigeons. This study therefore recommends that pigeon growers can give 150 or 200 mg of S. wightii powder as a feed supplement to pigeons for improving their growth and vigor.