Nutrient Digestibility, Haematology and Serum Biochemistry of Broiler Chickens Fed Diets Containing Graded levels of Mistletoe (Tapinanthus bangwensis) Leaf Meal
An experiment was conducted to investigate the nutrient digestibility, haematological and serum biochemical indices of broiler chickens fed diets containing graded levels of Mistletoe (Tapinanthus bangwensis) leaf meal (MLM) as protein source. MLM was included at graded levels of 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% in the five respective diets. Two hundred and twenty five (225) day-old chicks were used for the study. They were brooded for two weeks and randomly allotted to five experimental diets in groups of forty-five (45). Each treatment contained three replicates of fifteen (15) birds each. The birds were fed starter (23.77 – 24% CP) and finisher diets (19.78 – 20.43% CP) at 3-4 weeks and 5 – 8 weeks, respectively. Standard management practices were followed while water and feed were supplied ad libitum. At the end of the eight weeks trial, feed and faecal samples were analyzed for proximate composition and nutrient digestibility. Blood samples were also collected and used for the determination of haemotological and serum biochemical indices. The proximate analysis results revealed decreased in metabolizable energy (ME) and crude protein (CP) contents of the diets with increasing levels of the MLM as a result of lower energy and CP contents of the MLM. The CF contents (6.75–9.00%) of the starter and finisher diets (6.20–10.81%) increased as the level of MLM increased. The nutrient digestibility decreased as the level of MLM increased for dry matter (DM), CP, ether extract (EE) and nitrogen-free extract (NFE). The results for the haematology revealed non-significant (P>0.005) differences among the dietary treatment groups for packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb) concentration, red blood cell (RBC) count, and white blood (WBC) count. The parameters evaluated were all within the recommended haematological range of values for broiler chickens. The serum biochemical indices obtained in this study revealed that there was no significant (P>0.05) differences for most serum biochemical indices among the treatment groups except urea, potassium and ASAT which differed. The values, however, did not follow any definite trend. It is concluded that inclusion levels up to 20% MLM in the diets of broilers will support optimum performance without adverse effects on the nutrient digestibility, haematological and serum biochemical indices of broiler chickens.
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