Blood Characteristics of Broiler Chickens as Influenced by Dietary Inclusion of Neem (Azadirachta indica) Leaf Meal
Keywords:Chickens, Haematology, Serum, Neem leaves.
The blood characteristics of broiler chickens as influenced by dietary inclusion of Neem Leaf Meal (NLM) were investigated. The duration of feeding trial was eight weeks, with a total of 192 day - old broiler chicks. The chicks were randomly allotted to four (4) dietary treatments of 48 birds each and replicated three times with 16 birds per replicate in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) experiment. The dietary treatments had inclusion levels of 0, 2.5, 5.0 and 7.5% NLM, respectively. A total of 36 blood samples (3 per replicate, i.e. 9 per treatment) were obtained with the aid of hypodermic needles and syringes via the prominent wing vein of the broilers at the 8th week. Blood for haematological assay was collected into EDTA bottles, while blood for serum biochemical determinations was collected into non – EDTA bottles. All blood parameters were assayed using standard laboratory procedures. Results were subjected to one – way ANOVA where haematological characteristics were not significantly (P>0.05) influenced by dietary treatments. The parameters ranged as follows: RBC (2.33 - 3.00 ×1012/L); WBC (6.90 - 8.90 ×109/L), Hb (13.66 – 15.13 g/dl), MCHC (43.13 – 44.10%), MCH (58.67 – 61.67 pg), MCV (134.33 – 144.67 fl) and PCV (32.00 – 34.33%). In terms of serum biochemical indices only cholesterol content (3.77 – 6.03 mmol/L) was significantly (P<0.05) affected by dietary treatments, while albumin (4.31 – 5.58 g/dl), glucose( 6.73 – 7.60 mmol/L), creatinine (44.40 – 47.50 µmol/L), total protein (6.57 – 8.62 g/dl), globulin (1.94 – 3.04 g/dl) and urea (1.77 – 2.33 mmol/L) showed no significant differences (P>0.05) between treatments. All haematological and serum biochemical parameters were within the normal ranges for apparently healthy broiler chickens. The study therefore concludes that including up to 7.5% neem leaf meal (NLM) in diets meant for broiler chickens will not adversely affect their blood characteristics.