Studies on the Nutritional and Anti-Microbial Effects of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Meal on Chicken Broilers and Laying Hens
Okere, P. C.
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Experiments were conducted to evaluate the nutritional and anti-microbial effects of dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) in broilers and laying hens. Proximate analysis of the leaf meal showed that it contained 23.25% CP, 13.19% CF, 6.93% EE, 6.4% Ash and 47.10% NFE on dry matter basis. In the chicken broiler experiment, five broiler starter (23% CP) and five finisher (19% CP) diets were formulated to contain Moringa oleifera leaf meal at dietary levels of 0%, 2.5%, 5.0%, 7.5% and 10% which were designated as T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively. Five groups of 40 day old Anak chicken broilers were assigned to the five treatment diets in a completely randomized design (CRD) experiment. Each treatment was replicated four times consisting of 10 birds per replicate and fed for 49 days. At the starter phase, average final body weight gain indicated no significant (P>0.05) treatment effect. Feed conversion ratio was significantly (P<0.05) superior at 7.5% and 10% levels. There was significant difference (P<0.05) in feed intake between the control group and the group receiving 10% of MOLM. Feed intake of the groups decreased with increase in MOLM level. At the finisher phase, average final body weight and average body weight gain were significantly (P<0.05) higher than others at 10% level resulting in significantly improved feed conversion ratio. Average daily feed intake of the groups showed no significant (P>0.05) difference across the treatment groups although MOLM decreased feed intake as the level of inclusion of the leaf meal increased. Moringa oleifera leaf meal significantly (P<0.05) improved PCV, HB and RBC respectively. MCH, MCV, MCHC, TWBC, platelets, lymphocytes and neutrophils were similar (P>0.05). There were no traces of basophils, eosinophils and monocytes in the blood of the experimental chicken broilers0k. The platelets increased with increase in dietary levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. However, the control group recorded the highest level of lymphocytes. MOLM significantly reduced blood cholesterol and serum glucose, but the effect became significant (P<0.05) at 5% level. Serum protein, creatinine, albumin, globulin, sodium and chlorine were not affected (P>0.05) by the treatments. Alkaline phosphate (ALP), aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase were significantly (P<0.05) higher than the other groups at 10% level of MOLM inclusion. Potassium was significantly (P<0.05) raised by the leaf meal. Carcass and internal organ weights of the experimental chicken broiler birds were not affected by the dietary leaf meal. Abdominal fat significantly (P<0.05) decreased with increased level of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. MOLM totally inhibited the growth of Salmonella spp, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella spp and Escherichia coli, at all levels of inclusion of leaf meal. In the layers experiment, there were no significant treatment (P>0.05) effect in the average final body weights but average body weight change was significantly (P<0.05) higher at 7.5% level. Feed intake increased with increase in dietary levels of MOLM. The effect became significant (P<0.05) at 7.5% and 10.0% levels, leading to superior feed conversion ratio at these levels. Mean hen-day egg production tended to increase with increased level of MOLM inclusion. The control group significantly (P<0.05) recorded the lowest value. Egg weight was not affected by the treatments. Shell thickness and shell weight increased with increase in MOLM levels. No significant differences existed in yolk height and yolk weight, although their values had no definite pattern. The birds in T3 (7.5%) recorded significantly (P<0.05) the highest levels of long and short egg yolk diameters and long and short albumen diameters. Egg yolk coloration steadily increased with increase in dietary levels of MOLM and T5 (10%) recorded the highest value. Albumen index and haugh unit of eggs were not affected by the treatments. Moringa oleifera leaf meal had no significant effect (P>0.05) on dressed weight and dressing out percentage of the experimental laying hens, although the dressed weight tended to increase with increased level of dietary MOLM. Percentage weights of necks, wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts, hearts, livers, gizzards and abdominal fats (expressed as percentage of live weight) were similar (P>0.05). MOLM totally inhibited the growth of micro-organisms investigated at the end of the layers experiment. It is therefore concluded that dietary Moringa oleifera leaf meal could be included in the diets of broilers and laying hens up to 10% level without any adverse effects.