Medicinal plants leaf meal supplementation in broiler chicken diet: effects on performance characteristics, serum metabolite and antioxidant status

Daramola O.T. of Department of Agricultural Technology, The Federal Polytechnic, Nigeria carried out an experiment to investigate the effect of medicinal plants leaf meal on performance characteristics, serum metabolites and antioxidant status of broiler chicken. The experiment employed a completely randomized design.

A total of one hundred and forty-four 4-week Abor-Acre broiler chickens were used in a finisher phase, the birds were fed with broiler finisher diets for 28 day feeding trial. The birds were assigned to 4 dietary treatments replicated three times with 12 birds per replicate. Diet I, the control diet (basal diet), Diet II contained 0.2 % bitter leaf meal (BLM), Diet III contained 0.2 % Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) and Diet IV contained 0.2 % of mixture of BLM and MOLM (1:1).

The study result shows that the average final live-weight and daily weight gain increased (p<0.05) with the mixture of BLM and MOLM. The feed conversion ratio of birds on control diet and Diet IV were better at 1.91 and 2.03, respectively. The cholesterol levels of birds fed medicinal plant reduced significantly (p<0.05). Supplementation of diets with medicinal plants resulted in a significant (p<0.05) increase in creatinine and bilirubin. The enzyme activities test and total protein were not influenced (p>0.05) by experimental diets. The oxidative activities increased (p<0.05) in the dietary herbal supplement.

The study therefore concluded that supplementation of broiler chicken with herbs or mixture of herbs enhanced the growth performance and antioxidant capacity of birds without any deleterious effect on the health status of the birds.