Gut health maintenance in broilers: comparing potential of honey to antibiotic effects on performance and clostridial counts

  • A.A. Jimoh
  • U. Ayuba
  • E.B. Ibitoye
  • A.A. Raji
  • Y.U. Dabai
Keywords: Broiler; gut health; honey; clostridial count


This study was conducted to investigate antimicrobial potentials of honey at controlling proliferation of Clostridium perfringens (Cp) and promoting growth in broiler chickens. Graded concentrations of honey solution (HS) were compared to 5.0% oxytetracycline (OTC). A total of 96 day-old White Hubbard strain broiler chicks were randomly distributed into four treatment groups of 24 chicks each in three replicates. The groups were  designated as T1 for control (water only), T2 (1.5% HS), T3 (3.0% HS) and T4 (5.0 % OTC solution at 1.25g/liter). Data were collected weekly on feed intake, weight gain and efficiency of feed utilization (EFU) for six weeks. At 7th week, six birds per treatment were randomly selected, slaughtered and dissected, and 1g of caecal contents per bird was sampled into labeled sterile bottles. The samples were subjected to bacterial culturing,  identification and colony counting. Results showed that feed intake was significantly (p<0.05) depressed by 3.0% HS, but EFU improved at 1.5% HS. Although the additive had no significant effect on weight, highest weight gain (1.69 kg/b) was noticed at 1.5% HS. Colonies of Cp were reduced in
honey and OTC-treated groups (T2=5.2x105; T3= 5.0x105 and T4= 4.6×105cfu g-1) compared to the control (T1; 8.7x105cfu g-1). At 1.5%  concentration, HS compared well with OTC as it reduced gut load of Cp and promoted growth in the broilers. In conclusion, addition of HS at 1.5% concentration in drinking water could therefore serve as an alternative to OTC to improve performance and reduce gut load of Cp in broilers

Keywords: Broiler; gut health; honey; clostridial count


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eISSN: 0331-2062