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Value of Bitter Leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) Meal as Feed Ingredient in the Diet of Finisher
A 28-day feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) leaf meal as feed ingredient on the performance, feed cost and carcass and organ weights of finisher broilers. The leaves were air dried under room temperature, ground and sieved through a 3 mm mesh to produce the meal. Laboratory analysis revealed that the meal contained 15.67 crude protein, 6.95 ether extract, 11.53 crude fibre, 13.00 total ash and 38.18% nitrogen free extract. The leaf meal was used at 0,5,10 and 15% inclusion levels to formulate the test rations. Thereafter 168 Marshall broiler strain (at their fourth week of age), were shared into four groups and assigned to the four treatment diets in a Completely Randomised Design (CRD). Data were collected on feed intake, body weights, feed conversion ratio, carcass and organ weights and cost of production. There were significant (P<0.05) differences in final body weight, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and carcass weights between the birds on the 0% inclusion of the leaf meal and the rest of the groups and between the birds on 5% and the birds on 10 and 15% inclusion levels. No significant difference (P>0.05) was observed in the organ weights. Abdominal fat weight, cost of feed production per kilogram price and profit made decreased significantly (P<0.05) as the inclusion levels of the leaf meal increased across the groups. The results of the study suggest that dietary inclusion of Vernonia amygdalina leaf meal in broiler finisher diet at a level not exceeding 10%, does not have any adverse effect on their performance.