Title : Effects of varying levels of Moringa Oleifera leaf meal on the growth, carcass quality and economics of production of broiler chicken
The prices of broiler feed have been escalating, thereby reducing the viability of the poultry industry in Cameroon. This study was carried out to determine the effects of varying levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal as substitute for soya beans on the growth evolution, carcass quality and economics of production of broiler chickens. A total of two hundred and twenty five (225) unsexed cobb vantress broiler chicks were allotted to five (05) dietary treatments with forty five (45) birds per treatment in a completely randomized design experiment. Treatment groups were further divided into three (03) replicates with 15 chicks in each replicate. Soya bean meal was substituted weight for weight with Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) in broiler starter and finisher diets at 0%, 5%, 10% 15% and 20% levels respectively. Birds were fed during the experimental period that lasted for 9-weeks. Data was collected on feed intake, weekly growth rate, feed conversion index and economics of production. At the end of the experiment, the birds were slaughtered, dressed and used for carcass quality. Treatment effect on average feed intake, final body weight, body weight gain, were significant (P<0.05) while feed conversion ratio was not significant (P>0.05). Inclusion of MOLM in broiler diets significantly (P<0.05) affected abdominal fat, thigh and feet yields but showed no significant difference for breast, drumstick, head, neck, gizzard, liver, heart, spleen, proventriculus and pancreas. It was concluded that Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) can only be included in the feed to levels up to 10% as higher levels affected feed intake and final weight gain although cost incurred per kilogramme feed was lower for birds on Moringa diets than birds on the control diet. Further study is needed on the yellow colour of the carcass and acceptability by consumers.