Effect of Euphorbia hirta and Thymus vulgaris powders on performance and haematological parameters of the Cameroon Kabir Chicken
The ban placed on the long term use of commercial antibiotics at subtherapeutic levels for diseases control and growth promotion in livestock production necessitated a worldwide search for available, cost effective and efficacious alternatives. Accordingly, the effects of Euphorbia hirta (EH) and Thymus vulgaris (TV) powders were evaluated against Oxykel 80 WP on feed intake, growth performance, carcass characteristics and haematological parameters of the Kabir chicken. For, 144 one-week old Kabir chicks of both sexes divided into 6 groups (n=18), which received a commercial antibiotic (0.5g/L H2O), a basal diet alone (negative control) or supplemented with 0.75% & 1.5% EH and 0.5% & 1.0% TV powders. Feed intake and weight gain were recorded weekly for 9 weeks. Carcass and haematological analysis were evaluated at 45 days post-treatment. Feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion were generally not significantly affected (P>0.05) by the dietary treatments. However, chicken on 0.75% EH had the highest overall feed intake (5324.70g) and weight gain (1451.70g) while those on 1.0% TV and basal diet treatments had the lowest overall feed intake (4060.90g) and weight gain (1150.03g) respectively. The overall feed conversion ratio ranged from 3.19 to 3.99, and was better only during the first 21st days of age. Pre-slaughter and dressed carcass weights of chicken were higher in the 0.75% EH (944.75) and 1.0% TV (588.13), respectively, and both lowest in the negative control. Significant inter-treatment weight differences (P<0.05) occurred in 3 internal organs; liver, proventriculus and pancreas. Not much inter-treatment variations were noticed in the 19 blood parameters studied except for % lymphocytes and% granulocytes, which were higher (P<0.05) when compared to 0.5% TV and 0.75% EH treatments. From these investigations, both TV and EH powders showed varied potentials as growth promoters in local chicken production. The implications of these findings are further discussed.
Keywords: Euphorbia hirta, Thymus vulgaris, antibiotic, growth promoter, performance, Kabir chicken