Effects of Different Salt Inclusion Levels on Performance, Hematology, Carcass and Meat Quality Characteristics of Broilers.
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This study aimed at evaluating the effects of different salt inclusion levels on performance, hematological profile, carcass characteristics and meat quality of broilers. A total of one hundred and forty four (144) day o ld chicks were used. The birds were divided into four treatment groups and each subdivided into three replicates with twelve (12) birds per replicate. Four experimental diets were formulated (T 1 , T 2 , T 3 , and T 4 ). T 1 served as the control, T 2 contained 0.25 % (common salt), T 3 contained 0.50% (common salt) and T 4 contained 0.75% (common salt) both at the starter and finisher phases. Each treatment group of birds was assigned to one of the four (4) experimental diets in a completely randomized design and the e xperiment lasted for nine weeks. Data were collected on feed intake, weight gain and organoleptic qualities. Also blood samples were taken for hematological and serum biochemical analyses. Birds on T 4 had the highest average live weight (1982.60g) while th ose on control had the lowest (1676.60g). Birds on T 1 had higher feed conversion ratio (4.60) while those on T 3 had the least value (3.50). Results of organoleptic qualities showed significance differences (P<0.05) among treatments except for connective ti ssue and off - flavor characteristics. Birds on T 3 were juicier, more tender, more flavored with higher hendonic score and off - flavor intensity and were closely followed by birds placed on T 4 diets. Results of hematology showed significant differences (P<0. 05) among treatments except for MCV, MCH, MCHC, WBC. Birds on T 3 had higher Hb, PCV, RBC and Platelets Count and were closely followed by birds placed on T 4 diets. Also results of serum biochemical analysis showed significant differences (P<0.05) among tre atments. Birds on T 4 had higher Na ⁺ and Cl ˉ while birds on T 1 had higher Fe 3+ , Mg 2+ and Uric acid content. Results of serum biochemical analysis were significantly different (P<0.05). Birds on T 1 had higher triglycerides and were closely followed by birds on T 4 . Also birds on T 4 had higher aspartate aminotransferase. It can be concluded that an increase in salt level up to 0.75% in broiler diet brought about improvement in live weight and it has no negative effect on haematological and serum biochemical indices. Keywords: broiler chicken, p erformance, carcass characteristics, meat quality, haematological and serum biochemical indices, organoleptic qualities