Growth performance of broiler birds fed varying dietary levels of artemisia annua (sweet wormwood)
The study was conducted to investigate the growth performance of broiler birds fed varying dietary levels of Artemisia annua. A total of 90 broiler chickens (Arbor Acre strain) were used. The study lasted for eight weeks. At the starter phase, 90 fourteen-day old broiler chicks were randomly allocated to five groups and fed starter diets containing five levels of A. annua (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 g per kg of diet, respectively). At the finisher phase, 90 forty-two-day old finisher broilers were randomly allocated to five groups and fed finisher diets containing five levels of A. annua (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 g per kg of diet, respectively). Each group was replicated three times with six birds per replicate in a completely randomized design. Parameter measured includes body weight, average daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio and protein efficiency ratio. The result of the proximate composition showed that Artemisia annua leaf meal contained 10.50% moisture, 26.27% crude protein, 5.00% crude fibre, 9.60% ash, 2.00% ether extract and 46.63% nitrogen-free extract. The result showed that at the starter phase, the inclusion of varying levels of A. annua in the starter diets had significant (p < 0.05) effect on the final body weight (FBW) of birds. Birds fed diet 2 (diet containing 50g of A. annua per kg diet) had significantly (p<0.05) higher final body weight (FBW) value (1115.00g) than those fed diet 5 (diet containing 200g of A. annua per kg of diet) which had FBW value of 915.00g. Dietary treatments had no significant (p > 0.05) effect on average daily feed intake (ADFI), total weight gain (TWG), average daily weight gain (ADWG), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and protein efficient ratio(PER) of the birds. At the finisher phase, significant (p < 0.05) differences existed among treatments in ADWG, TWG, FBW and ADFI. Birds fed diet containing 50 g A. annua per kg diet had significantly (p < 0.05) higher ADWG, TWG and FWG values than those fed the control diet. However, no significant (p > 0.05) differences existed among treatments in FCR and PER. It is concluded that A. annua leaf meal can be included in the diet of starter and finisher broilers at 200g per kg of diet without any deleterious effect on the growth performance of birds.