A nutritional assessment of Moringa oleifera leaf meal for chickens commonly reared under extensive production systems : Effect on growth performance, serum biochemistry, and meat quality
Sebola, Nthabiseng Amenda
MetadataShow full item record
Poultry production in most rural parts of South Africa is characterized by small scavenging operations. Indigenous chickens which are considered to be of low productivity due to poor growth rate, few eggs produced, high mortalities, susceptibility to diseases and long brooding period (Tadelle et al., 2000). The major reasons for the poor productivity of indigenous village chickens are poor feed resource base, limited foraging ranges and poor management practices (Alders et al., 2001 ; Swatson et al., 2001 ). Proximate, minerals and fatty acids composition of Moringa oleifera leaves at different stages of maturity as well as the apparent digestibility of M oleifera leaf meal (MOLM)-based diets in three chicken strains were determined. The leaves were harvested green, air-dried in a well-ventilated laboratory and milled into powder using a hammer mill to pass through a 1 mm sieve, to produce M oleifera leaf meal (MOLM). The leaf meal was chemically analysed and used to dilute a commercial broiler finisher diet at 0 (MOLM0), 25 (MOLM25), 50 (MOLM50), and 100 (MOLMlO0) g/kg DM, producing four isoenergetic and isonitrogenous dietary treatments. A 90-day feeding trial was conducted to determine the effect of Moringa oleifera leaf meal supplementation on productivity, carcass characteristics, meat quality and haematology and biochemical indices of three chicken strains. Two hundred and sixteen (216) Potchefstroom Koekoek (PK), Ovambo (OV) and Black Australorp (BA) chickens were raised on a commercial starter mash for four weeks. On the fourth week, experimental diets were offered and growth performance data were collected for 13 weeks. The data obtained from the present study indicate that tender M oleifera leaves can be utilised as feed for poultry due to its high quality protein and low crude fibre content. Digestibility data indicate that inclusion of MOLM in chicken diets did not negatively affect nutrient digestibility. Maximum feed intake was achieved at dietary MOLM inclusion levels between 50 and 70 g/kg DM. Black Australorp chickens had the highest feed conversion efficiency (FCE) of 2.35, while OV and PK chickens had lower FCE values of2.09 and 2.05, respectively. Male chickens attained higher (P<0.05) carcass weight, leg and thigh weight, dressing percent, and breast mass than female chickens (P<0.001). Inclusion of MOLM up to 10 g/kg had no adverse effect on the health and nutritional status of the three chicken strains. Macroscopic examination showed normal morphology of liver tissues in all chicken strains across all MOLM inclusion levels. Diet MOLMS0 resulted in lower shear force and lower cooking loss, which indicates good meat tenderness. However, inclusion of MOLM did not affect fatty acid profile of the meat. Inclusion of MOLM in chicken diets positively affected growth performance carcass characteristics, haematological parameters, biochemical indices and meat quality of chickens. In conclusion, MOLM could be of great benefit to both feed millers and farmers due to its health benefits and in tum will reduce feed costs.