Performance of Broiler Chickens Fed Water and Urea Treated Neem (Azadirachta indica) Kernel Cake as Protein Supplements

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In a study to evaluate the performance of broiler birds fed graded levels of water and urea-treated neem kernel cake (NKC), three hundred (300) day-old commercial broiler chickens (Cobb, 500) were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments for 56 days. Each treatment was replicated thrice in a Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The data obtained was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) and where the analysis indicated significant treatment effect, the means were compared using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (1995). Water and feed were given ad-libitum. Major parameters measured included: feed intake, water intake, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio carcass characteristics and biochemical and haematological qualities of the blood. The diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous to replace soya bean meal at 0% NKC, 5% WNKC, 10% WNKC, 5% WUNKC and 10% WUNKC for diets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. The results showed that Average daily feed intake (ADFI), average body weight gain (ABWG), average daily water intake (ADWI), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and feed cost/kg live weight were significantly (p<0.05) different across dietary treatments, while the water/feed intake ratio did not show any significant (p>0.05) difference. Broilers fed the 0% NKC (control) diet had ADFI, ABWG, ADWI and feed cost/kg live weight values which were significantly (P<0.05) better than the birds on the 5% and 10% NKC diets. Results on carcass parameters were also significantly (p<0.05) different among the dietary treatments. Liver, gizzard, heart and intestinal weights of birds on the test diets were significantly (p<0.05) heavier than those on the control diet. With the exception of the red blood cell (RBC), globulin and total protein, all the haematological and biochemical parameters measured were not significantly (p>0.05) different across the dietary treatments. Economics of production revealed that a profit/bird on the control diet was GH¢5.20 as against GH¢3.39, GH¢1.14, GH¢2.76 and GH¢0.99 for birds on 5% WNKC, 10% WNKC, 5% WUNKC and 10% WUNKC. Values registered for birds fed the 5% inclusion levels of the NKC diets on average final body weight and water intake were significantly (p<0.05) higher than those which were on the 10% inclusion levels. It is therefore suggested that replacing soya bean meal with NKC at the inclusion levels used in this study may have a deleterious effect on growth performance of the birds and will also, not be cost effective.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Animal Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Animal Nutrition