Laying performance, haematology and serum biochemical profile of hens fed unfermented and fermented African locust beans
The study was carried out to compare the effects of unfermented and fermented African locust bean on laying performance, haematology and serum biochemical profile of hens in a twelve week feeding trial. The unfermented African locust bean (UALB) contained seeds that were dehulled and boiled in water, without going through fermentation. The fermented African locust bean (FALB) contained seeds that were dehulled, boiled in water and made to undergo natural fermentation for 4 days. One hundred, 40- week old, laying hens (Nera black) were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments in which UALB and FALB replaced soybean meal at 50% and 100% levels. Trypsin inhibitor (TI) activity was higher in the raw African locust beans (RALB), but no trace of the TI was contained in the UALB and FALB. However, higher residual amounts of tannin (38.10 mg/g) and phytate (2.80 mg/g) were obtained from the UALB. Egg weight and hen day production were significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in birds fed 100% UALB. Haemoglobin was similar (p > 0.05) across the groups of hens. The packed cell volume, red blood cells and white blood cells were significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in hens fed 100% UALB. Alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase and alkaline phosphatase were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in birds fed 50% UALB and 100% UALB respectively. Marginal differences were however obtained in all the response indices between hens fed the control diet, 50% FALB and 100% FALB respectively. It was therefore concluded that fermentation was a better processing method for optimal utilization of Africa locust beans in diets of laying hens.
Key words: African locust beans, hens, performance, haematology, serum profile