Growth performance, blood parameters, carcass characteristics and meat quality of Potchefstroom Koekoek chickens supplemented with Lippia Javanica leaf meal
Matshogo, Tumisang Ben
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A feeding trial was conducted for a period of 16 weeks, with the objective of determining the effect of Lippia javanica leaf meal supplementation on the growth performance, blood parameters, carcass characteristics and meat quality of male Potchefstroom koekoek (PK) chickens. One hundred and sixty male PK chickens were reared at the North-West University Farm. Lippia javanica (LJ) leaf meal was chemically analysed and added to a commercial grower diet at a rate of 25 g LJ /kg diet or 50 g LJ /kg diet. An additional two diets, a positive control (commercial grower diet with antibiotics) and a negative control (commercial grower diet without antibiotics) were formulated and thus bringing to four, the total number of dietary treatments. The birds were raised on a commercial starter mash for 4 weeks. At the start of the fifth week, the four experimental diets were offered to the chickens. The experimental unit was a pen holding 8 chickens, which was replicated 5 times per treatment, resulting in a total of 20 floor pens. In week 9, chickens fed diet LJ25 had the highest feed intakes (520.08 ± 18.89 g/kg) compared to other diets. The results on cumulative weight gain (CWG) indicated, a gradual increase in the live weights after week 9 was observed across all treatments. From week 9 to week 15 there was no significant difference in CWG among the birds across dietary treatments. There was a huge decline in feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in all treatments between week 5 and week 6 and a slight decrease in feed conversion efficiency in all treatments thereafter. There were no significant differences in overall FCE between all the treatments (P > 0.05). Dietary treatments had no effect (P > 0.05) on serum total protein, urea, creatinine, triglycerides, and calcium concentration. However, diet significantly affected ALT, AST, bilirubin, sodium, potassium, cholesterol and magnesium concentration. It was observed that for ALT, chickens offered LJ50 had lowest level (0.10 ± 0.22 IU/L) followed by those on CON- (0.20 ± 0.22 IU/L). The inclusion of L. javanica in the diet had no significant influence on haemoglobin concentration and monocytes. However, there were significant differences with respect to HCT, neutrophils, lymphocytes and normoblasts. It was observed that HCT values were higher in LJ25 and LJ50 (0.39 ± 0.01) chickens compared to CON+ (0.36 ± 0.01) and CON- (0.38 ± 0.01) chickens. Chickens offered LJ25 had the highest lymphocytes value ( 14.94 ± 1.17 x 109 /1) compared to chickens fed other dietary treatments. Supplementing chicken with feed containing 50 g/kg of L. javanica leaf meal significantly increased carcass mass (P < 0.05). However, full gizzard and empty gizzard weights in CON+ and LJ25 chickens were higher (P < 0.05) compared to CON- and LJ50 chickens. Meat from CON- (6.07) and LJ50 (6.08) chickens had higher pH than in CON+ (5.9) and LJ25 (5.8) chickens. With regards to meat colour, breast muscle in CON- (53.2) had the highest (P < 0.05) lightness (L*) values, while the meat from CON+, Lj25 and Lj50 the lower values. The addition of L. javanica in chicken diets showed no negative effects on the mass of breasts and thighs. The data obtained from this study showed that L. javanica can be included in indigenous chicken diets as a nutraceutical without any harmful effect on growth performance, blood parameters and carcass characteristics.