Responses of broiler chickens under hot humid tropical climate as affected by Azadirachta indica leaf
Environmental temperature is the most critical variable influencing the performance of broiler chickens in the hot humid tropical climate. Neem (Azadirachta indica) has been reported to possess several benefits including antioxidants which may be able to alleviate the effects of heat stress on broiler chickens during hot dry season. A study was carried out to evaluate the effect of Azadirachta indica leaf powder (NLP) on the growth, haematology and serum biochemistry parameters of broiler chicks. Two hundred and forty day-old broiler chicks were randomly assigned to four treatments which contained 0, 5, 10 and 15g/Kg diets in a Completely Randomized Design experiment. Each treatment was replicated four times with fifteen birds in each replicate. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. The results showed that the levels of creatine kinase of the birds fed 0 and 5g NLP were similar but higher than those of the birds 10 and 15g NLP. The final body weights of the broiler chickens fed 10 and 15% NLP were similar but significantly higher than those of the birds fed 0 and 10g NLP. The weights gains and feed conversion ratios of the birds followed a similar trend to that of the final body weights. The feed conversion ratios of the birds fed 10 and 15g NLP were similar but significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those fed 0 and 5g NLP. It was concluded that broiler chickens exposed to heat stress in the hot–humid climate responded favorably to inclusion of neem leaf in their diets up to 10g/Kg diet.
Keywords: Chicken, physiology, performance, antioxidant, hot-dry season.