Nutritional evaluation of bitter leaf meal (Vernonia amygdalina): effects on performance, carcass and serum metabolites of broiler chickens
A study was conducted to evaluate the phytochemicals present in bitter leaf meal and to determine the effect of graded levels of bitter leaf meal (BLM) on performance, carcass quality, internal organs and serum metabolites of broiler chickens. A total of 72 one-day-old broiler chicks of Abor-acre breed were used for the trial and fed with diets supplemented with graded levels of bitter leaf meal (0%, 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3%). The diets were isonitrogenous and iso-caloric. The chicks were grouped into 4 treatments (18 chicks per treatment) and teach treatment was replicated 3 times using a complete randomized design. The experiment lasted for 42 days. Results showed a relatively high proximate and mineral content while phytochemical screening revealed that BLM contains bioactive substances beneficial to broiler chickens with anti-nutrient concentrations below the critical levels. The final liveweight, carcass weight and dressing percentage at 1362.27g, 1138.85g and 75.22%, respectively improved in treated groups especially among birds fed diet containing 0.3% BLM. The improvement in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) at 2.56 resulted in improved muscle development. The inclusion of BLM at 0.3% reduced the level of cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, low density lipoprotein, creatinine at 70.67mg/dl, 34.67mg/dl, 10.33mmol/l , 7.67mg/dl and 0.12mg/dl, respectively, and increased the high density lipoprotein values at 90.33mg/dl. It was concluded that BLM is not deleterious to the growth and health status of broiler chicken rather it can be a good growth booster.
Keywords: broiler chickens, bitter leaf meal, growth performance, serum metabolites
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