The Effect of Moringa Supplementation on growth and Health of Indigenous Zambian Chickens

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Chongwe, Andrew M.
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There are indications that Moringa (Moringa oleifera) leaf meal can serve as a feed supplement supplying nutrients and natural antimicrobials/medicines in poultry chicken diets. Two experiments evaluated the effect of Moringa leaf meal as a feed supplement on the growth and health of indigenous Zambian chickens. The first experiment evaluated the response of indigenous Zambian chickens’ growth, feed intake and digestibility, and intestinal microbial load to an increasing level of Moringa leaf meal in the diet. Sixty indigenous chickens, blocked by body weight, were randomly assigned to receive isonitrogenous and isocaloric diets containing 0%, 10%, 20% and 30% Moringa leaf meal on weight basis. The experimental design was a 4x3 randomized complete block design. The diet having 0% Moringa leaf meal was the control diet. In both experiments, the chickens had ad libitum access to feed. Individual body weights were taken on a weekly basis while feacal samples were collected fortnightly for digestibility and microbial load assessments, using proximate analysis and plate count respectively. Growth rates were 41%, 49% and 7% higher (P<0.05) in indigenous chickens receiving diets with 0%, 10% and 30% Moringa leaf meal, respectively, in comparison with those whose diet had 20% Moringa leaf meal. There were significant differences (P<0.05) in faecal bacterial count among the treatments, with diets having 10% Moringa leaf meal having the lowest counts. The second experiment was conducted to evaluate further the effects of Moringa leaf meal on the health of indigenous Zambian chickens at inclusion levels of less than 20% Moringa. This was arrived at based on indications from the first experiment that the indigenous chickens on levels of Moringa below 20% had less mortality. Thus, 60 indigenous Zambian chickens were divided equally between sex and type into 12 groups and assigned at random to three isonitrogenous and isocaloric dietary treatments supplemented with 5%, 10% and 15% Moringa oleifera leaf meal on weight basis. The experimental design was a 3x2x2 factorial design with three Moringa leaf meal levels in the diets, sex (male or female) and chicken type (large or small) as the factors. The duration of the experiment was 8 weeks prior to which the first two weeks were used for the chickens to adapt to the treatments. Blood samples were taken from the wing veins using sterile needles for antibody titre level analysis using the Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay method. There were significant differences between treatment means for antibody titre levels fourteen days after vaccinating against Newcastle disease. The blood antibody titre level for chickens on M10 was over 1000 micro liters whereas those on M5 and M15 had 783 and 876, respectively. There were no differences (P>0.05) between treatment means for antibody titre levels before and 7 days after vaccinating against Newcastlle disease. In both scenarios, the M10 treatment had antibody titres at higher but insignificant (P<0.05) levels. Moringa leaf meal did affect antibody titre levels before and after vaccinating the flock against Newcastle disease irrespective of chicken type. The results from the two experiments indicate that 10% inclusion rate of Moringa leaf meal in the diet promotes growth and optimum utilization of the natural antimicrobials/medicines.
Chicken--Breeding-Zambia , Chicken Feed Indusry-Zambia