Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (8) 2014 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as a substitute for antibiotics on the performance and blood parameters of broiler chickens

B A Makanjuola, O O Obi, T O Olorungbohunmi, O A Morakinyo, M O Oladele-Bukola and B A Boladuro

Livestock Improvement Programme, Institute of Agricultural Research & Training, Moor Plantation, Ibadan
boseade74@yahoo.com

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of three different inclusion levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) as substitute to antibiotics on the performance and blood parameters of broiler chickens. One hundred and forty four (144) day-old commercial Cobb broiler chicks were randomly allotted to 4 dietary treatments of 3 replicates each. Each replicate had 12 birds. The treatments CTL – Control group in which the birds were offered a basal diet and routine treatment with antibiotic (Enrofloxacin via water); MO1 – basal diet with 200g MOLM in 100kg of feed; MO2 – basal diet with 400g MOLM in 100kg of feed and MO3 – basal diet with 600g MOLM in 100kg of feed. The experiment lasted 28 days.

 

Significant differences were observed in the feed intake of the birds while body weight gain did not differ significantly. The haematological parameters measured did not differ significantly. Alanine transaminase (ALT) differed among the dietary treatments. No differences were observed in the other serum biochemical indices measured. Cost incurred per kilogramme weight gain was lower for birds on Moringa diets than birds on the control diet.

Key words: alanine transaminase, enrofloxacin, feed intake, haemoglobin, serum


Introduction

Antibiotics are naturally-occurring synthetic or semi-synthetic compounds with antimicrobial activity. They can be administered orally, parenterally or topically and are used in human and veterinary medicine to treat and prevent disease and for other purposes including growth promotion in food animals (Phillips et al 2004). Antibiotic growth promoters have been an integral part of the poultry industry for more than sixty years (Nasir and Grashorn 2010). The use of these substances offered possibilities to improve animal performance and increased economic output of livestock producing units. The increased productivity of those units played an important rle especially in regions and continents where the availability of land is limited. This resulted in a higher output per livestock unit hence cheaper livestock produce without having to invest in additional land (Reimensperger 2011). However, the use of synthetically-produced substances especially antibiotic growth promoters was soon found to have objectionable side-effects.

 

The emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has necessitated the search for economically viable alternatives to antibiotics. Such alternatives include probiotics, prebiotics, organic acids and their salts and phytogenic additives (a wide range of plants and spices and their derivatives). During the past fifteen years, phytogenic additives in animal nutrition have attracted attention for their potential role as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters (Puvača et al 2013). They have been shown to activate digestion, strengthen the immune system and have antibacterial properties. Some herbal feed additives such as oregano, garlic and thyme have been indicated as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters in broiler production. Patell (2011) reported that Moringa oleifera extract has antibacterial properties. Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree native to the Himalayas in northwestern India and widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It possesses important medicinal properties which include antibacterial and antifungal activities (Nickon et al 2008). This study evaluated the effect of replacing antibiotics with Moringa oleifera leaf meal on the performance and blood parameters of broiler starters.


Materials and Methods

Study Area

 

The experiment was conducted at the poultry unit of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan, Nigeria. Ibadan is in Southwestern Nigeria and it lies on the geographical coordinates of 7 23ʹ 16ʹʹN and 3 53ʹ 47ʹʹ E.

 

Management of experimental birds

 

One hundred and forty four (144) one day-old Cobb broiler chicks were used for the experiment. The chicks were individually weighed and tagged before they were randomly allotted to 4 dietary treatments of 3 replicates each. Each replicate had 12 birds. The birds were reared in a well-ventilated and illuminated poultry house on deep litter. Routine management procedures were followed while fresh feed was supplied ad libitum and the birds had access to cool clean water.

 

Experimental design

 

The experimental design was Completely Randomized design.

 

Experimental diets

 

Fresh Moringa oleifera leaves were harvested and air-dried under shade for 5 days at which point the leaves were dry and crisp before they were milled. The diet was a corn/soya diet and was formulated to meet the NRC (1994) nutrient requirements for broiler starters. The composition of the diet is shown in table 1.

 

There were 4 dietary treatments:

 

  Treatment 1 (CTL) – birds were given an antibiotic.

  Treatment 2 (MO1) – diet contained 200g of MOLM in 100kg of feed.

  Treatment 3 (MO2) – diet contained 400g of MOLM in100kg of feed.

  Treatment 4 (MO3) – diet contained 600g of MOLM in 100kg of feed.

 

The antibiotic used for birds on diet 1 was Enrofloxacin and was administered via the drinking water. The experiment lasted 28 days. At the end of the experiment, 5 millimeters of blood was collected from 3 randomly selected birds from each replicate via the jugular vein into specimen bottles. The blood samples were used for haematology and blood serum analyses.

 

Statistical analysis

 

All data were subjected to one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using the General linear model of SAS {version 8} (1999). The means were separated using the Duncan Multiple Range Test (Duncan 1955).

 

Housing and management

 

Birds were housed in a deep litter pen which was thoroughly and severally cleaned and disinfected with Vinkokill (Chlorophenol [7%]) prior to the arrival of the chicks. The chicks were offered a vitamin/electrolyte solution (vitalyte) upon arrival. Routine administration of vaccines against Infectious Bursal Disease and New Castle Disease were done. Body weights were taken on the first day and then subsequently on a weekly basis till the end of the experiment. Feed intake was measured on a weekly basis as well. Body weight gain, feed intake and Feed conversion ratio (FCR) were obtained by calculation.

 

Blood collection

 

At the end of the experiment, 5 millimeters of blood was collected from 3 randomly selected birds from each replicate via the jugular vein into specimen bottles. Blood samples for haematological analysis were collected into sterilized bottles containing ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) as anti-coagulant while those used for serum biochemical analysis were collected into tubes without EDTA and centrifuged before analysis. Packed cell volume (PCV) was determined using the microhaematocrit method while the haemoglobin content was determined with the cyanomethaemoglobin method. Red blood cell count was determined using the Neubrauer haemocytometer while Aspartate transaminase (AST) and Alanine transaminase (ALT) were determined with a spectrophotometer.

 

Statistical analysis

 

All data generated were subjected to one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using the General linear model of SAS (1999) and means, where significant, were separated using the Duncan Multiple Range Test (Duncan 1955).


Results and Discussion

Gross composition of the experimental starter diet is shown in the Table 1. The diet was formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of broilers as recommended by NRC (1994).

 

Table 1: Gross composition of the starter diet

Ingredients

Kg/100

Maize

56

Groundnut cake

20

Soyabean meal

17.3

Fish meal (72%)

1

Limestone

1

Bone meal

3

Lysine

0.8

Methionine

0.4

Salt

0.25

Broiler premix

0.25

Total

100

Calculated analysis

 

Crude protein

21.8

Metabolizable energy (Kcal/kg)

2.8

Crude fibre

3.24

Performance characteristics of birds fed the experimental diets

 

The performance characteristics of broilers on the different treatments are shown in Table 2. Birds on diets 1 (CTL), 2 (MO1) and 4 (MO3) had higher feed intake than birds on diet 3 (MO2). The results are in accordance with observations of Gadzirayi et al (2012) who reported an increase in feed intake of broilers receiving solvent-extracted soybean meal supplemented with Moringa oleifera leaf meal.

 

According to the authors, the observed increase in feed intake may be attributed to increased bulkiness of the feed. Although birds on diet 2 and diet 4 had higher feed intake than birds on diet 3, they compared well with birds on the control diet in terms of feed intake. Final weight, weight gain and feed conversion ratio of the birds did not differ significantly. This agrees with the findings of Juniar et al (2008) who reported that the inclusion of Moringa oleifera leaf meal at amounts up to 10% in broiler diets did not produce significant effects on body weight, feed conversion ratio, carcass weight, production efficiency factor and income over feed cost. This however disagrees with the report of Fuglie (1999) who reported high performance of broilers fed Moringa-based diets. The significant feed intake however did not affect the other parameters measured i.e. final weight, weight gain and feed conversion ratio. This could be because the amount of MOLM added to the diets was such that it would not have had any noticeable effects on the performance parameters measured. 

 

Table 2: Performance parameters of broilers fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as alternatives to antibiotics

Parameter

CTL

MO1

MO2

MO3

SEM

p

Initial weight (g)

41.6

41.4

40.9

42.3

0.18

0.01

Final weight (g)

1140

1115

1089

1148

10.1     

0.13

Weight gain (g)

1099

1073

1048

1106

10       

0.14

Feed intake (g)

1869a

1885a

1757b

1877a

19.5     

0.03

Feed conversion ratio

1.70

1.76

1.68

1.69

0.02     

0.40

ab Means along the same row with different superscripts differ (p < 0.05) significantly.

 

Haematological indices of birds fed the experimental diets

 

Haematological characteristics of livestock have been observed as factors determining the response of livestock to the diet they are fed (Madubuike et al 2006). The haematological indices of birds fed the experimental diets are shown in Table 3. The results showed that there were no differences across the treatments in all the haematological indices measured. This finding is similar to the results of Ewuola et al (2012) who reported that there was no significant difference across the treatments for growing rabbits fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal. The values obtained in this study however fell within the normal range for healthy chickens (24.9 – 40.7%) as described by Animashahun et al (2006). This indicates that the dietary treatments were nutritionally adequate for the birds.

 

Although the packed cell volume (PCV), red blood cell count (RBC) and haemoglobin levels were not significant across the treatments, a numerical increase was observed in birds on the Moringa-treated diets. The highest mean value of RBC recorded for birds on diet 4 (MO3) could be as a result of the level of MOLM present in the diet (the diet had the highest level of inclusion of MOLM {600g}). Red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood as well as the manufacture of haemoglobin hence higher values indicate a greater potential for these functions and a better state of health (Olugbemi et al 2010b). Hackbath et al (1983) also reported that increased RBC values were associated with high quality dietary protein and with disease-free animals. Moringa oleifera leaf meal contains Iron (23mg/100g) which is necessary for many functions in the body including the formation of haemoglobin and myoglobin. White blood cell (WBC) counts were not significant across the treatments. This shows that the experimental diets neither impaired nor enhanced the birds’ ability to ward off infection (Olugbemi et al 2010).

 

Table 3: Haematological indices of broilers fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as alternative to antibiotics

Parameter

CTL

MO1

MO2

MO3

SEM

P

Packed cell volume (%)

29.2

31.7

30

31

0.41      

0.15

Haemoglobin (g/L)

9.73

10.5

9.97

10.3

0.14   

0.13

Red blood cell (106/L)

3.12

3.20

3.23

3.57

0.07

0.13

White blood cell (103/L)

17.9

18.4

17.4

17.6

0.21

0.44

 

Serum biochemical parameters of birds fed the experimental diets

 

Serum biochemical parameters may provide useful information for the evaluation of the health status of birds and reflect many metabolic alterations of organs and tissues when feeding unconventional feed sources (Kudair and Al-Hussary 2010). Except for the Alanine transaminase, all the other indices measured were not significantly different across the treatments. The results of the serum biochemical profile are similar to the findings of previous studies where no significant difference was noticed for most of the parameters studied for laboratory animals fed experimental diets containing Moringa oleifera leaf meal or crude extract from Moringa oleifera leaves (Ghasi et al 1999, Adedapo et al 2009). The non-significant values for albumin and globulin obtained in this study suggests nutritional adequacy of the dietary proteins for broiler starters. It also suggests that the diets did not influence the serum albumin and globulin of the birds. A significant decrease was observed in ALT activity in the birds on diet 3 (MO2).

 

Although not significant, a numerical reduction in AST activity was observed in birds on the highest inclusion rate of MOLM i.e. birds on diet 4 (MO3). Since liver is reported to contain enzymes like ALT and AST, it releases these enzymes to the blood when damaged (Kaplan et al 2003). Elevation of serum AST and ALT can occur with states of altered hepatocellular membrane permeability due to circulatory hypoxia, exposure to toxins and toxemia, inflammation, metabolic disorders or proliferation of hepatocytes (Prameela et al 2011). Hence, the absence of significant differences among treatment diets in serum AST in the present study may reflect normal liver function of the birds fed diets containing MOLM. This result is also supported by the works of Olugbemi et al (2010) who reported Moringa oleifera leaves to have a beneficial effect on the immune responses and improve intestinal health of broilers. Although the ALT activity in diets 1 (CTL), 2 (MO1) and 4 (MO3) was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than that of birds on diet 3, the decrease in ALT activity observed in birds on diet 3 could suggest that MOLM has properties that can enhance liver health.

 

Table 4: Serum metabolites of broilers fed graded levels of Moringa oleifera as alternative to antibiotics

Parameter

CTL

MO1

MO2

MO3

SEM

p

Total protein (g/dl)

3.04

3.13

3.13

3.02

0.06

0.24

Albumin (g/dl)

1.60

1.62

1.92

1.66

0.08

0.55

Globulin (g/dl)

1.44

1.51

1.21

1.36

0.06

0.39

AST (/L)

152

156

148

141

2.54

0.14

ALT (/L)

9.62a

9.91a

8b

9.33a

0.28

0.03

ab Means along the same row with different superscripts differ (p < 0.05) significantly.

AST: Aspartate transaminase;

ALT: Alanine transaminase.

Cost of production

 

Cost of producing broilers with graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as alternative to antibiotics is shown in Table 5. The cost parameters measured showed that it is cheaper to replace antibiotics with MOLM. The lowest cost incurred per weight gain was recorded for birds on diet 3 (MO2) while the highest for birds on the diet 1 (CTL). The same trend was observed for the cost of feeding a bird.

 

Table 5: Cost analysis of production of broilers using graded levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as alternative to antibiotics.

Parameter

CTL

MO1

MO2

MO3

Cost of feed (₦/kg)

104

97.3

97.8

98.3

Feed intake/bird (Kg)

1.87

1.89

1.77

1.88

Cost of feeding a bird

194

184

173

185

Weight gain (Kg)

1.09

1.07

1.04

1.10

Cost/weight gain (₦/kg)

178

172

166

168


Conclusion


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Received 13 July 2014; Accepted 24 July 2014; Published 1 August 2014

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