Evaluation of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf meal on performance, carcass characteristics and egg quality of laying hens
Abstract12 – week feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf meal on the performance, Carcass characteristics and egg quality of Laying hens. Neem (Azadirachta indica) is one of the indigenous tropical plants predominant in Nigeria. It is commonly known as Neem and popularly called “Akum-shut-up” in Ibo land and “Dogoyaro” in Hausa. The leaves were harvested, chopped to facilitate drying until the material became crispy while still retaining its greenish colouration. The material was milled using a hammer mill to produce leaf meal. Four layers diets were formulated to contain the leaf meal at 0%, 5%, 10% and 15% dietary levels respectively. One hundred and twenty (120), Shikka brown layers already 10 months in lay were divided into 4 groups of 30 birds each and randomly assigned to the 4 treatment diets in a completely randomized design (CRD). Eggs were collected twice daily and internal characteristics of the eggs measured. At the end of the feeding trial, three birds were selected from each treatment group, slaughtered, and eviscerated for dressed carcass weight determination. There were significant (p<0.05) differences in feed intake, hen-day egg production and egg yolk colour among the groups. However, there were no significant (p>0.05) differences in body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, Haugh unit, shell thickness, yolk index, albumen index, egg circumference and dress carcass weight characteristics among the groups. Results from this experiment suggests that 15% inclusion level of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf meal in laying hen diet has no deleterious effect on the birds.
Keywords: neem leaf meal, performance, layers
International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 6 2005: 208-212