Haematologicalparameters and weight changes of cockerels fed raw or autoclaved neem seed kernels in diets

  • OJ Uko Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
  • TN Kamalu Department of Animal Health and Production, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria


Neem seed kernels were used in feeds either raw or autoclaved for 10, 20 and 30 min and each soaked in water (1:2; wt/vol.) for 24 hours. The four-neem kernel portions were ground and incorporated into standard basal diet at 150 and 225 g/kg, respectively, as substitutes for groundnut cake (GNC). The nine experimental diets were fed to 270 cockerel chicks (30/diet) for 49 days to evaluate haematology, weight changes and organ weight in response to the supplements. At 150 g/kg, autoclaved neem kernels supported weight gain and food efficiency as GNC; higher level of heat-treated and both levels of raw neem kernels depressed (P<0.05) food efficiency. Duration of heating had no effect (P>0.05) on the economic traits. Autoclaving improved (P<0.05) erythrocyte (RBC) production and cockerels fed diets with 150 g/kg heat-treated neem kernels had superior (P<0.05) packed cell volume (PCV), RBC number and haemogblobin concentration compared to those of birds on basal diet. Neem diets generally induced (P<0.05) lymphocytosis and high level (225 g/kg) of the kernels decreased (P<0.05) alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity; otherwise neem kernels did not significantly alter the plasma metabolites. Carcass yield and organ weights were similar among the experimental groups save the greater (P<0.05) hepatic, renal and pancreatic weights in birds fed neem diets. The data revealed some beneficial effects of autoclaving on the economic traits of cockerels and possible presence of heat-resistant haemopoietic factor(s) in neem seed kernel.

Keywords: neem kernels, autoclaving, growth rate, haematology, cockerels

Nigerian Veterinary Journal Vol. 26(1) 2005: 10-17

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0331-3026