Physiological response of laying birds to neem (Azadirachta Indica) leaf meal-based diets: body weight organ characteristics and haematology
Esonu, B.O.; Opara, M.N.; Okoli, I.C.; Obikaonu, H.O.; Udedibie, C. and Iheshiulor, O.O.M. (2006) Physiological response of laying birds to neem (Azadirachta Indica) leaf meal-based diets: body weight organ characteristics and haematology. Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, 5 (2). ISSN 0972-5997
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A 12-weeks feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leafmeal (NLM) on body weight gain, carcass and organ characteristics and haematological values of laying hens. The leaves were harvested, chopped to facilitate drying in the sun until they became crispy but still greenish in coloration. The Sun-dried leaves were milled using a hammer mill to produce the leaf meal. Four layers diets were formulated to contain the NLM at 0%,5%, 10% and 15% dietary levels respectively and were used to feed 120 Shikka brown layers already 10 months in lay. The birds were divided into 4 groups of 30 each and randomly assigned to the 4 treatment diets in a completely randomized design (CRD). NLM did not show any appreciable difference in weight gain between the birds at 0% and those at 5%, 10% dietary levels. Carcass weight, dressed weight, liver, heart and gizzard weights were significantly (P<0.05) increased at 5% dietary level of NLM. There were no significant difference in Hb and PCV between birds on O% and 5% treatment diets. However, these differed significantly (P<0.05%) from those of birds on 10% and 15% treatment diets. There were variations in the differential WB count , marked lymphocytopenia adversely affected the total leucocyte counts in the birds on 5%, 10% and 15% treatment diets. The results of this study suggest that laying birds could tolerate 5%- 15% dietary levels of NLM without deleterious effects.
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