Nutritional Evaluation of Mistletoe Leaf Meal on the Growth and Carcass Characteristics and Cost Benefit Analysis of Broiler Chickens in Semi-Arid Region of Nigeria
An eight week feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effect of feeding graded levels of mistletoe (Tapinanthus bangwensis) leaf meal (MLM) on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and economic performance of broiler chickens. Two hundred and twenty five (225) “Arbor Acres’ strain of broiler chickens were used for the study. The birds were brooded for two weeks in a deep litter pen before they were allotted randomly in groups of 45 birds each to the five experimental diets. Each treatment contained three replicates of 15 birds each. MLM was included at graded levels of 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% in the five respective diets. Standard management practices were adopted. Water and feed were provided ad libitum. Daily feed intake and weight gain were monitored while feed conversion ratio was calculated. At the end of the eight (8) weeks trial three birds per treatment with average weight closest to the mean weight of their group were selected, starved of feed overnight and slaughtered for carcass analysis. Feed samples and MLM were analyzed for proximate composition. The cost-benefits of using MLM in broiler diets was computed from the prevailing market prices of the ingredients at the time of purchase. The analyzed crude protein (CP) composition of the starter and finisher diets ranged from 23.77-24.0% and 19.78 - 20.43%, respectively. The corresponding metabolizable energy (ME) ranges were 2865.79 to 2892.96 kcal/kg and 2826.79 to 2996.42 kcal/kg. The crude fibre (CF) contents of the starter (6.75 – 9.00%) and finisher diets (6.20 – 10.81%) increased as the level of MLM increased. The results revealed that final body weight, feed intake and weight gain were better in birds on diet 2 (5% MLM). However, the other MLM-based diets were similar to the control at the finisher phase. The results of carcass characteristics were similar for most of the carcass components. Significant reduction in the cost of production were obtained from diets containing MLM than the control in terms of cost of feed (₦/kg), total cost of feed (₦) and gain/kg of feed. This signifies that MLM can be fed to broiler chickens up to 20% without any deleterious effect on growth, carcass and economic performance.
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