The Effects of Early Feeding of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Meal on Performance of Broiler and Pullet Chicks
The effects of early feeding of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Meal (MOLM) on performance from 0-7 weeks age was examined in broiler (Hubbard breed) and pullet (Bovans Nera black rock breed) chicks. Within each breed, 8 birds were randomly assigned to each of 3 treatment groups and each group was fed only one of 3 diets (0% MOLM, 5% MOLM, 10% MOLM) from 0 4 weeks age. All birds were fed with a standard diet (containing no MOLM) from 4 -7 weeks age. Body weight, linear growth (Body length and girth; wing, thigh, drumstick, and shank length) and Body Mass Index (BMI; a surrogate measure of obesity) were measured at age 1, 4 and 7 weeks. At week 4, a significant (P < 0.05) difference in bodyweight was observed between broiler groups (0% MOLM, 10% MOLM > 5% MOLM), whereas no significant difference in body weight was observed between pullet groups. At week 7 (3 weeks following discontinuation of MOLM diets), broilers in 0% MOLM dietary group had significantly (P < 0.05) higher body weight (0% MOLM > 5% MOLM, 10% MOLM), and a similar trend was observed for body length and drumstick length. Also in broilers, BMI was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in 5% MOLM than other groups but thigh length was not significantly different between groups. In contrast to broilers, no significant difference in body weight or any of the other parameters measured was observed between pullet groups at 7 weeks age. The experiment showed that whereas the inclusion of MOLM in the diet of broilers from 0-4 weeks suppressed performance (relative to 0% MOLM) at age 4 weeks and thereafter, no effect on performance of pullets at age 4 and 7 weeks was observed when moringa was fed for the same duration, thus highlighting differential adaptation of chicks from different genetic backgrounds (meat vs. egg type breeds) to MOLM. The use of MOLM at =10% inclusion in the diet of pullets should be encouraged as it yields comparable performance to conventional ingredients, and its weight limiting effects in broilers may be harnessed for nutritional management of broiler-breeder bodyweight which is essential for maximising their reproductive performance.
Keywords: Moringa Oleifera Leaf Meal, Growth Performance, Broiler, Pullet.